UM-Tagum dominates Mindanao Leg of the 15th NESTEA Beach Volleyball
Mindanao’s most talented beach volleyball players battle it out in the first elimination leg
SAMAL, Davao del Norte: Not even the scorching summer heat could stop University of Mindanao-Tagum from ruling both the men and women's division Sunday in the Mindanao Leg of the 15th NESTEA Beach Volleyball Collegiate Championship held at the Paradise Park and Resort.
Jefty Mora paired with Kim Lapiz as the UM-TagumSpikers proved their top billing by crashing Roldan Medina and ImbranIdris of archrival Mindanao State University-Tawi-Tawi in straight sets, 21-14, 21-19, while their women's counterparts MyleneQue and LiezlManatad followed suit with a convincing 21-18, 21-19 victory over University of Mindanao-Davao's May ShielAgton and ReynilenRaterta in the finals to lead four other collegiate teams into the National Championship on April 19 to 21 in Boracay.
Despite the setback, the 2007 Nestea National champion MSU-Tawi-Tawi’s Imbran Idris and Roldan Medino still earned a trip to the prestigious Boracay Finals along with the tandem of Joel Villonson and Edmar Flores of Holy Cross of Davao College, who needed only two sets to secure a spot in the top 3 against DMMA College of Southern Philippines, 21-14 and another 21-14 in the battle for third place.
Aside from UM-Tagum and UM-Davao, also advancing into the Boracay national finals in the distaff side were Elvie Mariquit and Irish Dignadice of Jose Maria College also of Davao City, who proved too much for Cor Jesu College of Digos City, 21-11, 21-15, to earn the third and last berth.
Only the top three teams from among the 12 who participated in the men's and 11 in the women's advanced into the National Championship, where a whooping P100,000 cash prize for the champion, P65,000 for the second placers, P35,000 for the third and P22,500 for the fourth placers in both divisions await the them.
They will pit skills against qualifiers from the Visayas Elimination, which will be held on March 9 to 11 in Moalboal town of Cebu, while the Luzon Leg will be on March 21 to 23 and the Metro Manila Leg on March 25 to 27. Both will be staged at the First Asia Institute of Technology and Humanities (FAITH) Campus in Tanauan, Batangas.
With the whole of Mindanao hoping for the best in the national campaign, the long-time coach Adrian Benett of UM-Tagum expressed caution saying their only aim now is to surpass their highest finish of fourth place in the annual event in 2007 even with the current potentials of 18-year-old Lapiz and 20-year-old Mora, who both stand 5'10 and 175 lbs and have been playing together for the last two years.
"Modesty aside our target is only to surpass our fourth place finish in 2007. That's my only wish now. Teams from the Visayas, like Foundation University in Dumaguete and Cebu's University of the Visayas, University of San Jose-Recoletos, University of Southern Philippines Foundation and Manila's University of Perpetual Help System Dalta are the top bets. But of course we will play our best," said Benett, who also steered UM-Tagum to a back-to-back championship title in the National Private Schools Athletic Association (PRISAA) volleyball tournament.
He said that they will utilize their beach Volleydrome court in Tagum giving the team an advantage over other schools who do not have their practices in actual beach volleyball courts."What I'm proud of the most about this team is discipline and dedication. They practice hard everyday. After this tournament, we will be practicing at least twice a day already," he noted.
But coach Eduard Lee of MSU-TawiTawi, the first and only team in Mindanao to win the NESTEA National crown in 2007, refused to predict the outcome in Boracay, citing pressures may be too much for his rookie players to handle.
"I have been there several times. We won the national championship in 2007 from just a mere 8th place finish the year before. We climbed hard and sweated more than enough to win the Finals. But my players are all freshmen, I don't want to put pressure on them. We will just play our game," Lee said.
"Good luck to all of you. You will be representing your Mindanao region in the National Finals," noted Jose Manuel Santos, Nestea's Marketing Promotions and Events Executive during the victory celebration.
Santos together with all the participating players, coaches and tournament officials planted 117 mangrove seedlings in the 400-meter island of Barangay Tambo in Babac as part of Nestea's "Save the Beach"drive.
"We do this not for our generation only but for the future generations. To raise awareness and encourage action on preserving our country's pristine beaches," he stressed.
NESTEA Beach Volleyball has made sure that they offer only the best. It is sanctioned by the Philippine Volleyball Federation (PVF) and conforms with the standards of the Fédération Internationale de Volleyball (FIVB) allowing participants to play and compete in a league with international standards.
It is one of the country’s most prestigious volleyball tournaments, wherein participating players eventually become members of the Philippine National Beach Volleyball team.
The 15th NESTEA Beach Volleyball circuit players will be sporting Speedo uniforms and volleying Mikasa balls in all the games. They will be billeted at the La Carmela de Boracay Resort Hotel, as it is the “Official Residence” of the 15th NESTEA Beach Volleyball players. Other partner hotels are Boracay Mandarin Island Hotel and Crystal Sand Beach Resort. The First Asia Institute of Technology and Humanities will host the Luzon and Manila elimination legs. Shakey’s is NESTEA’s official snack partner in Boracay.