BIANCA Lizares is relishing every moment in the sand court.
Young but determined, Lizares has shone in a short span of time to become one of the country’s best women beach volleyball players.
The pride of Bacolod City, Lizares remembered the time she first played in the sand that opened great opportunities for her to shine, climbing her way to the big leagues.
“The year was 2018, I just started going to USLS–Bacolod and as part of their annual celebration, they hold the Animolympics, basically the school’s sportsfest. I played with my high school teammate and represented our college. Really, it was just to have fun and get some sweat out,” said Lizares.
“As luck would have it, it was Coach Dondon Verayo who officiated the game. He who saw a potential in me and invited to play at Iloilo for the Paraw Regatta Beach Volleyball Tournament. And from there, my career blossomed as I got invited to more invitationals such as BVR on Tour on many of its legs and other beach volleyball tournaments up and around the region,” she added.
In her first-ever Beach Volleyball Republic stint in Santa Fe, Bantayan Island last March 2018, Lizares, together with Jennifer Cosas, represented Team Bacolod and achieved third place, a remarkable accomplishment considering the short amount of time the 5-foot-7 spiker had to get familiar in the sand court.
“After a while, I got the opportunity to play at PSL for Sta. Lucia as well. I guess that small spark that Coach Dondon saw in me turned out to be the monumental push I needed that started my career in beach volleyball. And I have been playing since then – about 3 years into the sport already,” the 2014 Palarong Pambansa girls secondary volleyball MVP said.
Lizares credited BVR for playing a pivotal role of putting beach volleyball on the mainstream map.
“It has allowed many amazing local players who, back then, didn’t have the venue to hone their craft and compete with such high level of competition. I have been in many legs and thankfully, I have had the opportunity to reach the podium and it has really helped shape me into the athlete that I am today,” said Lizares on BVR.
“I got to play with the country’s best collegiate teams, players who are clearly veterans of the game, and of course the opportunity to make friends and acquaintances, not just from within the Philippines, but with players around the world,” she added.
With her gutsy performances in the BVR on Tour legs in 2019, Lizares was rewarded and became a part of Creamline’s beach volleyball program, which was formed last year.
Lizares is keeping herself in shape through online workouts at her hometown, as domestic beach volleyball competitions were shuttered due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The fact that there are still no beach volleyball tournaments is a total bummer. I still go to the gym and workout, but I guess it hits differently when you have a tournament to look forward to,” said Lizares.
Like any other athlete, Lizares remains upbeat for the resumption of face-to-face training in the sand court.
“Oh definitely, I am just so excited for this pandemic to be over so we could go back to travelling and playing on tournaments again. And training with the coaches and my teammates have been something I really miss. The banter, eating out after heavy trainings, hearing my teammates cheer for me as I desperately reach for that last ball for the 1-man drill. What. A. miss,” said Lizares.
With the rise of the country’s beach volleyball program after the podium finish of the women’s team in the 30th Southeast Asian Games two years ago, Lizares knows that the sport will get better with the support that it has received as of late.
“I can see Philippine Beach Volleyball growing more than ever. Now with its much wider reach and appeal to fans, I expect to see more local tournaments being held, more legs for BVR, and of course, more international competitions. These all have and will continue to improve the overall level of the sport. Doing my part to sustain the sport’s success would mean trying to continually improve myself. By bettering ourselves, we also help the game grow,” said Lizares.Publication Source : People's Tonight