Business Mirror – June 11, 2018

SANTA ANA, Cagayan – University of VIsayas’s (UV) Kevin Juban and Raphy Abanto held fort to the very end but found the Malaysian pair of Raja Nazmi Hussin and Mohd Aizzat Zokri just too tough a nut to crack to yield in men’s final of the Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA) – First Cagayan Leisure and Resort Corp. Beach Volleyball Republic (BVR) International Santa Ana Open on Sunday afternoon.

Juban and Abanto were in full harness for the championship showdown in the event presented by CEZA, headed by Secretary Raul Lambino and First Cagayan Leisure and Resort Corp., led by its president Francis Hernando against the visiting Malaysians, but were halted in their tracks before an enthusiastic crowd.

The Filipinos went down, 17-21, 18-21, but not without a fight.

“We gave it our all but the Malaysians just had the added arsenal in the final,” said Juban, who also partnered with Abanto in the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour Manila Open last month at the Sands SM By the Bay.

Despite the men’s trophy of the tournament that offers a total cash prize of $19,000 going to a visiting team, the women’s tiara is guaranteed to be planted on local soil.

Davao’s Lot Catubag and Karen Quilario, the reigning BVR national champions, and Iloilo’s DM Demontano and Jackie Estoquia disputed the women’s championship  of the two-day event that featured eight teams in the distaff side and 10 squads in the men’s contest.

The UV tandem were favored in the final after breezing past Ato Ni Bai’s Jade Becaldo and Calvin Sarte, the reigning BVR tiltlists in straight sets, 21-18, 22-10 – a match that was played in ideal conditions just like in Saturday’s preliminaries.

The Malaysians, on the other hand, had to go through the wringer in the semifinals where they disposed of the Czech Republic’s Dominik Samen and Martin Samec in three sets, 21-19, 29-21, 15-6.

Catubag and Quilario stopped hometown favorite Tuguegarao of Charo Soriano and Bea Tan, 21-17, 21-18, in the semifinals, thus setting up a final duel with Demontano and Estoquia – 21-16, 21-19 winners over harbor Point’s Therese Ramas and Floremel Rodriguez in the other last four encounter.

The Malaysians went home with the champions’ purse of $3,500, while Juban And Abanto settled for the runner-up purse of $2,000. The women’s champion and second placer will receive the same cash prizes in the BVR tournament that the CEZA is hosting for the fourth time.

Ato ni Bai made it a 1-3 podium finish for Philippine teams after Becaldo and Sarte defeated Samen and Samec, 21-17, 21-19, in the battle for the third place.

In the women’s side, Soriano and Tan pulled themselves back in the battle for the third place and beat Harbor Points rivals, 18-21, 21-16, 15-13.

The third placers banked $1,500 each, while their victims earned $1,000 apiece. Consolation prizes also went to the teams that did not get through the semifinals.