By: Manila Bulletin – Published

SANTA ANA, Cagayan — Lot Catubag and Karen Quilario of Davao proved lethal even under wet conditions as the duo scored a 21-14, 21-13 victory over DM Demontaño and Jackie Estoquia of Iloilo to capture the women’s crown of the Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA)-First Cagayan Leisure and Resort Corp. Beach Volleyball Republic (BVR) International Santa Open late Sunday afternoon.

Catubag and Quilario flashed the form that made them the BVR’s national champions as they kept their opponents in the chase all throughout the match witnessed by a cheering weekend crowd on the beach of this node of economic development in Northern Luzon.

“We just played our game and our chemistry just went to work,” said Quilario after winning the coveted title of the tournament CEZA, headed by Secretary Raul Lambino, hosted for the fourth time.

“The rain was a factor but we followed our game plan to the letter,” said Catubag as the tandem from Mindanao was applauded during the awarding ceremony where they were also presented top champion’s prize of US$3,500 from the total cash pot of US$19,000.

Catubag and Quilario shared the spotlight with Malaysia’s Raja Nazmi Hussin and Mohd Aizzat Zokri, who averted a Philippine sweep by beating University of Visayas’s (UV) Kevin Juban and Raphy Abanto, 17-21, 18-21, in the men’s final earlier Sunday.

Ten men’s teams and eight women’s squads took part in the event that serves as one of the platforms in CEZA’s effort to position the zone as a growth center for the region and a magnet for investors.

Lambino sent his congratulatory message to the winners and participants, while First Cagayan Leisure and Resort Corp. President Francis Hernando similarly lauded their participant for showcasing their top-notch volleyball skills in the region.

Catubag and Quilario made their presence felt right in the preliminaries and proved more lethal in the semifinals when they frustrated the local fans by beating the Tuguegarao team of Charo Soriano and Bea Tan, 21-17, 21-18, in the semifinals earlier last Sunday.

Soriano and Tan later consoled themselves by bagging third-place honors at the expense of Harbor Point rivals, 18-21, 21-16, 15-13.

The runners-up went home with US$2,000 each while the third-placers—including Ato Ni Bai (Jade Becaldo and Calvin Sarte), 21-17, 21-19 winners over Czech Republic (Dominik Samen and Martin Samec)—earned $1,500 each and their victims earned $1,000 apiece. Consolation prizes also went to the teams that did not get through the semifinals.