While they will not be favored to win the tournament, Beach Volleyball Republic founders Charo Soriano and Bea Tan vow to give it their all when the BVR Invitationals fire off June 9 in Cagayan.
Facing a crack lineup of 10 international and the BVR 2 squads, Soriano and Tan, former Ateneo stalwarts, said participating in a high-level competition such as this would only mean good for the sport in the country.
BVR 1 is bracketed in Pool B with teams from the United States and Hong Kong battling them.
“We’re very excited kasi nga po makikita na natin kung nasaan na yung level ng Pilipinas in terms of beach volleyball,” Soriano said in Monday’s press conference in Quezon City. “We have invited people who have participated in the AVC and FIVB (tournaments).”
True enough, Soriano and Tan will figure in the tournament that also features Thai beach volley star Yupa Phokongploy, American veterans Jennifer Snyder and Chara Harris, and Brazilian aces Erica Adachi and Rupia Inck.
Filipinos have not achieved much success in the international beach volleyball arena of late and Soriano, through BVR and its partnership with the LVPI, hopes to build on their successful start to push the sport further in the country.
“Last year, we started our program, going around the country. We invited players from the provinces to play with players from Metro Manila,” she said. “That’s a stepping stone for us to find players who can compete internationally.”
That program culminated a couple of weeks ago when Tan and partner Fiola Ceballos ruled the BVR National Championships. With Ceballos unavailable, it’s Soriano who takes her place in the Invitationals.
Also competing for the top prize of US$6, 000 are National Championships silver medalists Perper Cosas and Dij Rodriguez.
“This is just the start,” Soriano emphasized. “We manage our expectations but we will do our best. Hopefully, we’ll make our country proud and increase the level of competition.” — By Josiah Albelda