LINGAYEN, Pangasinan, Philippines – Ten teams, including two from host Pangasinan, plus a sprinkling of grizzled volley babes in the circuit, are hoping to leave their marks in the 2012 Petron Ladies’ Beach Volleyball Battle of Champions.
Veteran spikers led by those from University of the East and Emilio Aguinaldo College are keen on coming up with a good showing against Pangasinan’s best when action begins today at the wind-strewn provincial capitol beachfront grounds in Lingayen.
University of the East’s Francislyn Cais and new teammate Kryssel Cueva are among the favorites in this spikefest supported by Speedo, Mikasa, media partner Business Mirror and the province of Pangasinan through Gov. Amado Espino Jr.
They could face resistance from former La Salle Dasmariñas standout Jennifer Manzano and new partner Cindy Benitez and EAC’s Lourdes Patilano and Donna Factor.
“The champion from the past years, Jennifer Manzano is back, and so are the winners from UE. But we hope to make it to the semifinals first,” said Patilano, a computer science junior who is partnering with Factor for the first time.
Cais will be defending the crown she won with Jessica Paron last year, when the two pulled off a 21-18, 21-17 repulsing of University of the Philippines-2’s Pauline Genido and new teammate Liezchel Tiu in Puerto Princesa.
Organizer Tisha Abundo said that two teams from Pangasinan are on even terms with the participants from Metro Manila now that they are learning how to play the sport.
After a year’s absence, Manzano returned to the Petron circuit last March and won the Dasmariñas, Cavite first leg with Giselle Bembo, beating Cais and Paron, 21-9, 21-6, to advance to the Battle of the Champions.
A criminology graduate from La Salle-Dasmariñas, Manzano will see action, this time with Benitez under the Pangasinan banner.
Bembo, on the other hand, will try to make it to the semifinals, and maybe the finals with new partner Iari Yongco.
They will face challenges from the likes of Philippine School of Business Administration’s Joan Arceo and Grace Masangkay, UE-2’s Leuseth Dawis and Ashlee Razon.
Mapua-1’s Bianca Reyes and Mabele Lu are playing for the first time with Mapua-2’s Patricia Aquino and Alissa Magallanes, while Rizal Tech’s Jessa Aranda and Jonafer San Pedro will also join the fray, along with Pangasinan-2’s Melanie Carrera and Cassandra Lleda.