Reigning champions Sisi Rondina and Bernadeth Pons of Petron XCS will be up against tough competition when the Philippine Superliga (PSL) Beach Volleyball Challenge Cup unwraps Wednesday at Sands By the Bay in Mall of Asia.
Rondina and Pons are billed as two of the best beach volley players in the country.
But the road to the title will never be easy as they are up against a solid group of competitors in this prestigious summer spectacle bankrolled by PLDT, Sunsilk, Isuzu, Senoh, Mikasa, Maynilad, Petron, SM Malls, Generika Drugstore and UCPB Gen with ESPN5 and Aksyon as official broadcast partners.
Rondina and Pons landed in tough Pool A together with powerhouse Cocolife-A of veterans Danika Gendrauli and Nene Bautista and last year's runner-up Generika-Ayala-A of Fiola Ceballos and Patty Orendain.
"We started training after UAAP because we're trying to make up for the lost time," said Pons, who joined Rondina in representing the country in the 29th Southeast Asian Beach Volleyball Championship in Singapore last year.
"I believe this is going to be a competitive tourney because most of the players are now playing beach volley. We really have to be mentally and physically prepared for this."
Also seeing action are Mylene Paat and Rap-Rap Aguilar of Cignal-A; Bang Pineda and Sheeka Espinosa of Generika-Ayala-B; and Dhannylaine Demontano and Jackie Estoquia of Sta. Lucia A are in Pool B.
Pool C is composed of NCAA beach volley champion Nieza and Jeziela Viray of Foton; Cherry May Vivas and Janine Navarro of Cignal-B; and Cecilia Bangad and Caitlyn Viray of Smart.
In Group D are Fritz Gallenero and Mitch Morente of F2 Logistics, Marge Tejada and Alex Tan of Cocolife-B; and Jonah Sabete and Bianca Lizares of Sta. Lucia-B.
"All teams are competitive," Pons said. "That's why we did our best to prepare hard for this tournament."
In the men's division, Josh Ylaya and JP Pareja of Cocolife, Ian Lester Yee and Romnick Rico of UST, Kris Roy Guzman and Lemuel Arbasto of Foton and Bryan Bagunas and James Natividad of Sands By the Bay will be in Pool A.
Alsali Pajiji and Milover Parcon of Navy, Philip Michael Bagalay and Gregory Utupo of Smart, Mika Abria and Jessie Lopez of Cignal and Joven Camaganakan and Joseph Tipay of Team Volleyball Manila compose Pool B.
Meanwhile, PSL ambassador Aby Maraño, Jheck Dionela, Mitch del Carmen, Will Devaugn, Amanda Fernandez and Abby Poblador will also see action in the celebrity matches.
Men's action starts at 8:00 A.M. while women's battles are set at 2:15 P.M.