MANILA, Philippines -- After a two-year hiatus, the Beach Volleyball Republic (BVR) returns to action this Friday at the resort town of Santa Ana in Cagayan.
A total of 25 teams -- 14 in the women's and 11 in the men's division -- will vie for the championship in the first of two competition legs set for October 22-25.
The second and final leg will be played on October 28-31 at the same venue.
BVR founder Charo Soriano is optimistic that the league's restart will boost the sport, as they hope to build on the country's bronze medal achievement in both the men's and women's divisions in the 30th Southeast Asian Games in 2019.
"Apart from sports really trying to come back, I think right now the message that we want to give out to the public, the majority, and the audience, the stakeholders of volleyball is that sports is a catalyst of hope," said Soriano, also the chairperson of the Philippine National Volleyball Federation's beach volleyball commission.
"By doing this, it gives a lot of hope to our community, to be more specific, the sporting community. Because we want to be able to show them that there are things that we still can do and look forward to even during the pandemic," she added.
The BVR on Tour is part of the national women's and men's teams' preparation for the Asian Seniors Beach Volleyball Championship, where the Philippines will participate on November 23-27 in Phuket, Thailand.
This is the fifth time -- and the first since 2018 -- that Santa Ana will host a BVR on Tour leg.
The competition will be held under strict health and safety protocols, as members of the delegation took RT-PCR tests three days before entering the bubble, and an antigen test upon reentry.
"A lot of us who are doing this, organizing this, have been sacrificing more than usual. To organize an event is already difficult in itself, what more, organizing an event during the pandemic. So everybody needs to give a little bit of something extra than usual. That for me, I think is such a beautiful thing," said Soriano.
"To see people cooperating, participating, and really going the extra mile just to make this happen. Again it’s all for us to feel that semblance of hope that things can be normal again for everybody," she added.
The women's teams are Creamline, PLDT, TM, Biogenic, Eastern Communications, Toyota-Tuguegarao, Black Mamba Army, Sta. Lucia Lady Realtors, Boysen, Delimondo and Good Health-CDO.
Creamline, PLDT, ARMY-FSD Makati, DeliRush, Tuguegarao, EVI Construction and Negros Occidental Beach Volleyball Club comprise the men's field.
The games will be streamed live on the Puso Pilipinas and Smart Sports Facebook pages and YouTube channels.