MANILA, Philippines -- The Eastern Communications Perlas Spikers made an immediate impact in the Beach Volleyball Republic (BVR) on Tour, as Jules Samonte and Michelle Morente made it to the quarterfinals of the event's first leg in Santa Ana, Cagayan.
Samonte and Morente were among the top two third-place finishers in pool play, which allowed them to secure a spot in the knockout stage.
They put up a gallant stand against eventual runner-up Good Health-CDO in the quarters, and Samonte and Morente were satisfied with their effort.
"I'm very pleased sa ipinakita namin, especially that it is just a short time na nag-training kami. And feeling ko, factor din kasi 'yung nag-focus talaga kami sa beach volleyball ngayon," said Morente.
"Unlike kasi before, di ba, during our college years, parang there's indoor. Kailangang mag-training sa indoor. Kailangang mag-training sa beach. Alam mo iyon, hindi ka makapag-focus sa isang bagay lang," she explained.
"So now, a big factor na nagte-training lang kami sa beach. Feeling ko, doon kami nag-push na mag-jell together."
For Samonte, this is her first stint in BVR since being paired with Ponggay Gaston in the 2018 Lianga, Surigao del Sur leg. Morente, for her part, had several appearances since the BVR on Tour started rolling in early 2016. Her most recent stint was in the 2017 Currimao, Ilocos Norte leg with Ria Lo.
In the Santa Ana bubble, everything went smoothly for Samonte and Morente.
"I think naging big factor 'yung naging teammates kami sa Ateneo way back in 2016. So feeling ko, parang our connection is still there. Okay siya as a partner. Very madali, magaan sa loob ng court. Madaling makasama at madali ring maki-communicate with each other," said Morente.
Having been together since late September, Samonte is very grateful to reunite with Morente for the Eastern Communications Perlas Spikers.
"For me, as I always say, Ate Michelle is sobrang patient din niya. Mas veteran siya, mas marami din siyang alam. Sobrang encouraging din si Ate Michelle," said Samonte.
Samonte credited their coach Rei Diaz, as well as beach volleyball standouts AJ Pareja, KR Guzman and Doy Barrica for motivating her and Morente to perform well in the first leg.
"They are doing their part to guide us," said Samonte.
With Eastern Communications teaming up with the Perlas Spikers, both Morente and Samonte were glad for this opportunity for them to play against the country's finest beach volleyball players.
"We are very thankful that Eastern Communications really supported us for this. Malaking bagay na nagsu-support na company na nagga-guide sa iyo. We are very thankful na nandiyan sila sa start ng journey namin," said Morente, who also praised Perlas Spikers managing director Charo Soriano and team manager AJ Perartilla for pushing them in their campaign.
"We are grateful that we were given this opportunity to represent Eastern Communications. We are thankful that they have given full support," said Samonte.