Powerhouse Petron XCS kicked off its title-retention campaign on a sizzling note as it torched Generika-Ayala A, 19-21, 21-14, 15-8, in the opening salvo of the Philippine Superliga (PSL) Beach Volleyball Challenge Cup yesterday at the Sands By the Bay in Mall of Asia.
Sisi Rondina and Bernadeth Pons crawled back from a set down to pull off the victory over Fiola Ceballos and Patty Orendain, the same pair they beat in winning the title last year.
The win gave Petron an early lead in Pool A and the momentum heading into a gigantic clash with Cocolife A of Danika Gendrauli and Nerissa Bautista in the summer sports spectacle bankrolled by PLDT, Sunsilk, Isuzu, Senoh, Mikasa, Maynilad, Petron, SM Malls, Generika Drugstore and UCPB Gen.
The Blaze Spikers and the Asset Managers are still playing at press time.
But against the Lifesavers, the Blaze Spikers started on a wrong foot.
“We haven’t trained in this venue, so we had some troubles moving on the sand,” said Rondina, who had to wrap up her UAAP and FIVB World Tour stints before she could formally buckle down to training with Pons.
Pons, whose season in the UAAP went the distance after Far Eastern University qualified in the finals, agreed with her partner.
“Whenever I jump, it seemed that the sand was pulling back my feet. We had difficulty moving in the first set. Fortunately, we managed to adjust and win the second and third sets,” she said.
Also emerging victorious was Cignal A, which recovered from a sluggish second set en route to a 21-19, 5-21, 16-14.
The pair of Mylene Paat and Rap Aguilar pounced on Bang Pineda’s and Sheeka Espinosa’s blunders at the service box down the stretch to eke out the win and an early lead in Pool B.
In the men’s play, Sands overcame UST A, 21-15, 21-17, and Foton, 21-19, 21-15.
Foton, however stormed back and clobbered Cocolife, 21-5, 21-7, to improve to 1-1 in Pool A.
In Pool B, Cignal overcame TVM, 16-21, 21-14, 15-9; Smart denied Navy, 21-19, 14-21, 15-10; and TVM dominated Navy, 21-17, 21-18.