By: Theodore P. Jurado – June 10, 2018

SANTA ANA, Cagayan – Davao’s pride Lot Catubag and Karen Quilario added another gold in their vast collection, while Malaysia ruled the men’s division in the CEZA and First Cagayan presents Beach Volleyball Republic International Santa Ana Open yesterday here.

Playing under heavy rain and wind, Catubag and Quilario were brilliant as ever in the soggy sand as they pulled off a 21-14, 21-14 victory over Iloilo’s DM Demontaño and Jackie Estoquia for a perfect campaign in the two-day tournament.

Malaysians Raja Nazmi Hussin and Mohd Aizzat Zokri toppled University of the Visayas’ Kevin Juban and Raphy Abanto, 21-17, 21-18, to capture the men’s title.

Catubag and Quilario, who made it to the Round of 12 of the recent FIVB World Tour Manila Open, followed up their successful BVR national championship in Dagupan a few months ago by playing smart under difficult conditions.

After struggling against strong winds and losing to FEU’s Jeremiah Barrica and Kevin Hadlocon on opening day, the Malaysians racked up five straight matches to win the title.

“Actually, it’s all about communication,” said Aizzat after the pair claimed the $3,500 top prize.

In the women’s semifinals, Demontaño and Estoquia swept Harbor Pilot-Cebu’s Therese Ramas and Dij Rodriguez, 21-16, 21-19, to secure a finals ticket opposite Catubag and Quilario, a 21-17, 21-18 winner over Tuguegarao’s Charo Soriano and Bea Tan.

Catubag and Quilario started the final day by overpowering Singapore Merlion’s Kelly Yuen and Huang Zihui, 21-10, 21-15, to go perfect in Pool B at 3-0.

Ramas and Rodriguez outlasted Soriano and Tan under brutal late morning heat, 14-21, 26-24, 15-13, to complete a three-match sweep and the top ranking in Pool A.

Demontaño and Estoquia then assured of an all-Filipino semifinals by beating Hong Kong’s Chan Mei Kit and Yip Wai Yan,  21-16, 21-16, to finish No. 2 behind Catubag and Quilario in Pool B with a 2-1 card.

In the men’s semifinals, Raja and Aizzat won over Czech Republic’s Dominik Samen and Martin Samec, 21-19, 19-21, 15-6, to arrange a gold medal duel with Juban and Abanto, who turned back reigning national champion Ato ni Bai’s Jade Becaldo and Calvin Sarte, 21-18, 22-20, in the other pairing.

Becaldo and Sarte then scored a 21-17, 21-19 win over Samen and Samec to nab the men’s bronze medal.