MANILA – Bernadeth Pons proved that she is still the queen of the sand by powering Petron XCS to a third consecutive title in the Philippine Superliga Beach Volleyball Challenge Cup, late Saturday at the Capitol Beach Front in Lingayen, Pangasinan.
With her regular partner, Sisi Rondina, unavailable, Pons teamed up with Dij Rodriguez in dominating Jackie Estoquia and Dhannylaine Demontano of Sta. Lucia Santorini, 21-10, 21-14, in the finals to clinch the gold medal.
Rondina was wrapping up her UAAP career at the time, playing with the University of Santo Tomas in Game 3 of the Season 81 Finals against Ateneo de Manila University.
Pons was there to take care of business, leading the Blaze Spikers to a strong start and an even stronger finish to dominate the Lady Realtors en route to claiming a grand slam.
"Sisi told me to defend the title," said Pons, the former Far Eastern University star who will reunite with Rondina in the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour in Boracay later this month.
Pons admitted that she initially worried about having a new partner, having experienced great success with Rondina. But she "changed my worry into trust" soon enough.
"I know she's already experienced playing on sand so I trusted her and she trusted me. We trusted and helped each other to claim this victory," said Pons.
Meanwhile, Bianca Lizares and Jennifer Costas of Sta. Lucia Woodside clobbered Derie Rose Virtusio and Mary Rose Jauculan of Petron Sprint 4T, 21-16, 14-21, 17-15, to capture the bronze medal.
In the men's play, the pair of Edmar Bonono and Ran Abdilla of Cignal smothered the tandem of Kris Guzman and Efraem Dimaculangan of Foton to clinch the gold, 21-18, 19-21, 15-13, while Jason Lindo Uy and Philip Michael Bagalay of Philippine Army crushed Joshua Mina and Joshua Pitogo of Emilio Aguinaldo College, 21-17, 21-14, in the bronze-medal match.
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