With the University Athletic Association of the Philippines finals still in full swing, Sisi Rondina will not be around to defend her title when the Philippine Superliga Beach Volleyball Challenge Cup fires off at the Capitol Beach Front Thursday in Lingayen, Pangasinan.
Two-time champion Petron will miss the services of the University of Santo Tomas star, but Bernadeth Pons will still be around and will team up with Floremel Rodriguez, a seasoned beach volley campaigner who once ruled the Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation, Inc. while playing for Southwestern University.
Tipped to give the Blaze Spikers a tough time are their bitter rivals in F2 Logistics and Generika-Ayala A as well as PLDT Home Fibr A, UVC A and Sta. Lucia Splendido.
Michelle Morente and Fritz Gallenero will represent the Cargo Movers while Patty Orendain and Fiola Ceballos, who gave Rondina and Pons a tough time in the 2017 edition, will banner the Lifesavers.
Former National Collegiate Athletic Association Most Valuable Player Gretchel Soltones and Shola Alvarez will don the colors of PLDT Home Fibr A while veteran beach volley bidder Bang Pineda and Jinggay Bangad as well as Jackie Estoquia and Dhanylaine Demontano will suit up for Sta. Lucia Splendido.
Also part of the 15-team women's field are Pangasinan Teams A and B, Cignal Teams A and B, Sta. Lucia Aquamira, PLDT Home Fibr B, Petron-UST, Generika-Ayala B and UVC B.
In the men's side, Philippine Army and Philippine National Police will test the mettle of Pangasinan, Cignal, Volleyball Never Stops, Emilio Aguinaldo College, Perpetual and Foton.
A celebrity match between Team Rachel of Rachel Anne Daquis and Team Amanda of Amanda Villanueva is set before the finals on May 18.