SANTA ANA, Cagayan—The Davao pair of Lot Catubag and Karen Quilario played as good as advertised and Tuguegarao’s Charo Soriano and Bea Tan made their statement on home sand as hostilities in the Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA)-First Cagayan Leisure and Resort Corp. Beach Volleyball Republic (BVR) International Santa Open got off to a rousing start on Saturday morning.
The Catubag-Quilario duo and Soriano-Tan tandem each won their first two assignments in ideal conditions on the beach just off this important node of economic development in Northern Luzon to make their presence felt in the eight-team women’s division.
Another Philippine team, Southwestern University’s Therese Ramas and Floremel Rodriguez, and Singapore Merlions’ Kelly Sim Son Shwu Yuen and Huang Zihui also went 2-0 won-lost in the preliminaries of the event presented by CEZA headed by Secretary Raul Lambino and First Cagayan Leisure and Resort Corp. led by its president Francis Hernando.
Reigning BVR champions Catubag and Quilario opened their campaign in Group B with a 21-10, 21-13 victory over Hong Kong’s Chen Mei Kit and Yip Wai Yan and went unscathed with a 21-13, 21-19 conquest of Iloilo’s DM Demontaño and Jackie Estoquia in the two-day event that also features a 10-team men’s championship.
Soriano and Tan wowed the local crowd with a 22-20, 21-15 beating of Singapore’s Tin Lai Ng and Tan Shiang Theng and a 21-14, 21-16 win over Far Eastern University’s MJ Ebro and Ivana Agudo for an equally hot start in the tournament CEZA and Santa Ana are hosting for the fourth time.
“The volleybelles are playing true to form and that makes the local crowd extremely excited over the top-class beach volleyball action that immediately, they have become die-hard fans of the sport and the players,” Hernando said.
Refusing to be outdone were Ramas and Rodriguez, who kept the Philippine flag afloat in the foreign-laced competition with a 21-7, 21-11 victory over Ebro and Agudo and 21-15, 21-14 win over Ng and Tan.
Keeping the visitors afloat were Yuena and Huang, but they had to struggle against Estoquia and Demontano , 21-12, 21-15, 15-7, before staving off Hong Kong’s Chen Mei Kit and Yip Wai Yan, 21-16, 21-16, in the event that offers a total cash prize of $19,000.
BVR titleholders Jade Becaldo and Calvin Sarte of Ato ni Bai set the tone in Grou A of the men’s division after they scored a 27-25, 21-15 victory over FEU’s Jeremiah Barrica and Kevin Hadlocon, who opened the day’s action with a 25-23, 21-17 triumph over Malaysia’s Raja Nazmi Hussin and Mohd Aizzat Zokri.
University of Visayas’s Kevin Juban and Raphy Abanto also won their first match at the expense of Singapore’s Kam Lung Chui and Masato Itabashi, 21-17, 21-12.