MANILA — The pair of Sisi Rondina and Bernadeth Pons earned a breakthrough victory for the Philippines in the women’s beach volleyball competition of the 30th Southeast Asian Games, Sunday in Subic.
They outlasted Vietnam’s Truong Duong My Huyen and Nguyen Thi Thanh Tram in three sets, 21-8, 17-21, 15-7.
But the other Filipina pair of Dzi Gervacio and Dij Rodriguez faltered in their own match against their Vietnamese foes, Nguyen Le Thi Tuong Vy and Vu Ngoc Lan Nguyen, 14-21, 16-21.
With each country getting a win, a “golden match" became necessary to determine who would get the country point. Rondina and Pons returned to action against Vu and Nguyen, and wound up victorious, 22-20, 21-15.
Rondina came up big in the first set, firing the hit that forced deuce before serving up an ace and then converting the long ball that completed their come-from-behind win.
It was Pons’ turn to take over in the second set, as her variety of hits allowed the Philippines to break away from a tight 15-all count and claim the win.
With the result, the Philippines remains in the running for a semifinal spot in women’s beach volleyball.
“Kinabahan din ako kanina kasi ang lakas eh, malakas talaga,” admitted Rondina, the four-time UAAP beach volleyball champion from University of Santo Tomas.
“Nakakuha din kami ng tips, kasi bago kami maglaro, naglalaro sila. So inaral na namin kung paano sila umatake at saan din kami aatake sa kanila,” added Pons, the former Far Eastern U standout.
Meanwhile, the Filipino men’s teams gained another country point after sweeping their match-ups against Malaysia, also on Sunday.
James Buytrago and Jaron Requinton claimed a 21-19, 22-20 triumph over Jackson Ting and Bin Raja Hussin Raja Nazmi Saiffudin.
The other Pinoy pair of Edmar Bonono and Jude Garcia, meanwhile, powered past Malaysia’s Bin Nordin Rafi Asruki and Mohd Zokri Mohd Aizzat, 21-14, 21-12.
With the twin victories of the men’s teams, the Philippines is now through to the semifinals in their division.