By: The Philippine Star – June 11, 2018

SANTA ANA, Cagayan – Davao’s Lot Catubag and Karen Quilario added another gold to their treasure trove while Malaysia topped the men’s division in the CEZA and First Cagayan Beach Volleyball Republic International Santa Ana Open yesterday here.

Driving rains and high winds hardly disturbed the poise of Catubag and Quilario, who  blazed past DM Demontaño and Jackie Estoquia of Iloilo, 21-14, 21-14, to complete their title romp in the two-day event via sweep.

Malaysians Raja Nazmi Hussin and Mohd Aizzat Zokri, on the other hand, turned back Kevin Juban and Raphy Abanto of University of the Visayas, 21-17, 21-18, to snare the men’s crown.

Catubag and Quilario, who made it to the Round of 12 in the recent FIVB World Tour Manila Open, thus scored a follow-up to their BVR national title feat in Dagupan a few months ago by playing smart under difficult condition.

After struggling against strong winds and bowing to FEU’s Jeremiah Barrica and Kevin Hadlocon on opening day, Malaysia toughened up and swept their next five matches to clinch the gold.

“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 advance against Catubag and Quilario, who foiled Tuguegarao’s Charo Soriano and Bea Tan, 21-17, 21-18.

Catubag and Quilario earlier overpowered Singapore’s Merlion’s Kelly Yuen and Huang Zihui, 21-10, 21-15, for a 3-0 card in Pool B.

Ramas and Rodriguez repelled Soriano and Tan, 14-21, 26-24, 15-13, to complete a three-match sweep for the top Pool A ranking.

Demontaño and Estoquia then sealed an all-Filipino semifinal 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 semis, 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 won over Samen and Samec, 21-17, 21-19 to bag the men’s bronze medal.