Sisi Rondina and Bernadeth Pons on Friday gave a peek of their winning teamwork at Subic’s sand court during the third and last day of the national volleyball and beach volleyball team tryouts organized by the Philippine National Volleyball Federation (PNVF) on Friday.
The Rondina-Pons tandem — along with Dzi Gervacio and Dij Rodriguez — last played together in the 2019 Southeast Asian Games on the same court where they won a bronze medal.
That medal ended the Philippines' 14-year SEA Games volleyball medal drought and inspired others to take to the sport.
The PNVF invited 20 athletes to the women’s beach volleyball tryouts but 21 came. This does not include two potential nationals who are on quarantine for getting in close contact with a COVID-19 positive coach.
“This goes to show that volleyball — and sports in general, for that matter — is eager to make a comeback amid the pandemic,” PNVF president Ramon “Tats” Suzara said. “ We completed three days of tryouts and the turnout of aspirants breached expectations.”
Twenty-one athletes also showed up in the men’s beach volleyball tryouts on Friday afternoon, while 16 women and 31 men came for the indoor volleyball tryouts on Wednesday and Thursday at the Subic Gym. A total of 89 players answered the call for a chance to play for the Philippines.
Besides Suzara, PNVF secretary general Don Caringal and board members Charo Soriano (beach volleyball commission head) and Carmela Gamboa (events council head) helped supervise the tryouts. It was conducted under a bubble environment drawn by Dr. Jose Raul Canlas (medical commission) and the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority.
"I'm very happy because we are all together again and at the same time it's fun to be part of the tryouts,” Rondina, 25.
Jovelyn Gonzaga also played in her first official event after declaring that she will go full time in beach volleyball.
Ten other senior players joined the women’s tryouts: Alexa Polidario, Erjane Magdato, Babylove Barbon, Princess Robles, Honey Grace Cabansay, Jennifer Cosas, Tin Tiamzon Javen, Sabas, Gen Eslapor and Mer Jauculan.
Roma Mae Doromal, Grydelle Joanice Matibag, Khylem Harl Progella and Samantha Maranan also participated in the tryouts, hoping to land slots in the PNVF’s juniors program.
Leading the men’s cast were Jude Garcia, Jaron Requinton and James Buytrago, who gave the Philippines its first-ever SEA Games men's beach volleyball medal — a bronze — also in 2019.
Completing the seniors aspirants were Anthony Arbasto, Edwin Tolentino, Ranran Abdilla, Ronald Umang-it, Joven Camaganakan, AJ Pareja, Jade Becaldo, Calvin Sarte, James Pecaña, Jason Uy, Philip Bagalay and Joshua Miña.
Pol Salvador, Rancel Varga, Dominique Gabito, Efraem Dimaculangan, Jay Rack Dela Noche and Alexander Iraya tried out for the juniors slots.
FROM THE ARCHIVES