PH beach spikers off to Thailand for Olympic qualifiers

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, June 13) – The Philippine men's and women's beach volleyball teams are off to Nakhon Pathom, Thailand for the Asian Volleyball Confederation Continental Cup, an Olympic qualifying event.

The female beach spikers' head coach Paul Jan Doloiras told CNN Philippines the teams had a successful month-long training bubble in Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte.

"I believe we have a chance to compete. They just need to execute what we worked on during our training bubble. But I have to admit the competition will be hard because the other nations will send their best teams in Thailand," Doloiras said.

Doloiras will handle the women's beach volleyball team bannered by 2019 Southeast Asian Games bronze medalists Sisi Rondina, Bernadeth Pons, and Dij Rodriguez. UAAP Most Valuable Player Babylove Barbon completes the squad, while Merry Rose Jauculan and Genesa Jane Eslapor are listed as reserves.

The Filipina beach spikers will face Japan and New Zealand in the round-robin semifinals slated on June 18-19. The top two teams will advance in the final round, where the best squad will clinch the Tokyo Olympics slot.

The same format also applies to the men's team where they will battle Australia, Japan, Kazakhstan, and Lebanon in the semifinals, also from June 18-19.

The Rhovyl Verayo-mentored men's team is composed of 2019 SEA Games bronze medalists Jaron Requinton, James Buytrago, and Jude Garcia. Anthony Arbasto Jr. is the fourth player, while Ran Abdilla and Philip Bagalay are the reserves.

The Philippine National Volleyball Federation hopes the Philippine beach volleyball teams will perform well in the 2021 AVC Continental Cup.

"We are hoping for a strong finish for our men and women beach volleyball teams in this Olympic qualifier," PNVF President Ramon "Tats" Suzara said.