MANILA, Philippines -- Foreign teams competing in the 2019 Rebisco Beach Volleyball International Open have begun arriving, ahead of the tournament set to test the mettle of their Filipino counterparts.
The men's team from the Pacific Island of Palau was the first to arrive on Wednesday to prepare for the three-day competition that starts on Friday at the Sands SM By The Bay.
Expected to arrive on Thursday are the Southeast Asian teams Malaysia and Thailand, as well as teams from Hong Kong and New Zealand.
A total of 20 teams will compete in the event, presented by Larong Volleyball sa Pilipinas Inc. (LVPI), in cooperation with Beach Volleyball Republic.
The competition will also serve as a warm-up for the Southeast Asian Games-bound Philippine team.
"With the wholistic support of LVPI and Rebisco, I am confident that beach volleyball will continue to develop and prosper in our country," said team manager Charo Soriano.
The Philippines will be represented by the top women's pairs of Sisi Rondina and Bernadeth Pons, and Dzi Gervacio and Dij Rodriguez.
Other Filipinas competing in the tournament are rising stars Babylove Barbon and Gen Eslapor of reigning UAAP champion University of Santo Tomas, and sand court veterans DM Demontaño and Jackie Estoquia of Sta. Lucia.
Top Filipino standouts Edmar Bonono and Jude Garcia, and Krung Arbasto and James Buytrago will banner the country's campaign in the men's side along with Pol Salvador and Pemie Bagalay.
The last time the Philippines hosted the biennial event in 2005, the Fil-Am pair of Heidi Ilustre and Diane Pascua won the bronze medal in Bacolod City.
The Filipino beach volleyball players have competed against veteran international teams in the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour 1-Star event which the country hosted in Manila (2018) and Boracay (2019).
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