Rondina, partner save day for Philippines

BORACAY – Notwithstanding theirshort preparation, Sisi Rondina and Bernadeth Pons hardly missed a beat as they sizzled in their Beach World Tour debut.

The Philippines’ best bets in the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour Boracay Open presented by Globe made quick work of Japan’s Shinako Tanaka and Miyuki Matsumura, 21-14, 21-8, to barge into the Round of 12 yesterday at the White House Beach Station 1 here.

A few days removed from completing her indoor volleyball stint for University of Santo Tomas, Rondina was still superb as ever in the sand court, dazzling the lustily-cheering crowd with a bevy of powerful kills, smart plays and solid digs to help Pons score their first win and somehow ease several heartbreaks that the home side suffered earlier in the day.

“Actually two days lang yung training ko. But, before entering the training, naka-mindset na ako na babalik ako sa outdoors,” said Rondina, a four-time UAAP beach volleyball champion.

Rondina faced the 43-year old Tanaka for the second straight Beach World Tour. In the Manila Open last year, Rondina, together with her former partner Dzi Gervacio, were eliminated by Tanaka and Fujii Sakurako for a spot in the semifinals last year in the match that went into three sets.

“Last year, gustong-gusto kong manalo at that time,” said Rondina.

“Ngayon, blessed kasi nanalo kami for the first time. Siyempre, Japan iyun. Mahirap din kalaban ang Japan. Nakapag-adjust kami agad ni Pons and ayun, nanalo,” he added.

After a feeling their way early in the match, Rondina and Pons were able to figure out the Japanese weaknesses.

“Hindi sila masyadong nababa-block kaya kailangan naman namin umatake. So iyun ang ginawa namin,” said Pons, a former .

The Philippines suffered a couple of painful losses against Singapore and a three-set defeat to Norway that motivated Rondina and Pons to win.

Bea Tan and Dij Rodriguez narrowly lost to Eliza Chong and Lau Ee Shan, 21-17, 13-21, 14-16, in women’s action, while James Buytrago and Krung Arbasto bowed to Fan Shen and Kingsley Tay, 12-21, 21-18, 5-15, in men’s play.