In a landmark event for Philippine beach volleyball, Nuvali is set to host the Volleyball World Beach Pro Tour (BPT) Challenge, a grand spectacle featuring 48 qualification matches over ten hours on Thursday.
The tournament, sponsored by Ayala Land, Mikasa, Senoh, Philippine Sports Commission, Pinay In Action, and Smart as gold sponsors, as well as PLDT, Gatorade, Maynilad, Rebisco, Ayala Malls, the Department of Tourism, CBPI, Club Laiya, and Foton as bronze sponsors, promises to be a historic gathering with Olympic and world champions, along with top-ranked athletes from more than 30 countries.
PNVF president Ramon “Tats” Suzara, expressing the magnitude of the event, said in a press statement, “It’s the biggest beach volleyball competition the country has ever hosted.”
The tournament boasts 16 teams in both the men’s and women’s main draw, while the qualifiers feature 32 teams for each gender.
The competition will be fierce, with top athletes converging in Nuvali to compete on four world-class FIVB-standard sand courts and one practice court, all built by Nuvali through Ayala Land.
To accommodate the influx of participants, hotels in and around Santa Rosa City are hosting athletes and officials. The PNVF had to secure accommodations in Silang, Alabang, and Batangas due to overflowing reservations in the Nuvali area.
Qualification matches are scheduled to start at 8 a.m. on Thursday, simultaneously across all four newly built courts, with the last matches set for 6 p.m. The main draw kicks off on Friday, with matches starting at 9 a.m. and concluding with 9 p.m. matches.
Teams, including the Philippine squads coached by Brazilian Jao Luciano Kiodai, have been familiarizing themselves with the courts during training since last Tuesday. Kiodai expressed the significance of the event, stating, “The most important thing here is to introduce to the Philippines the high level of beach volleyball. It’s going to be hard, but the process is much more important than the results we are going to have.”
The Philippine women’s team, led by veterans Jen Eslapor and Floremel Rodriguez, along with national team first-timers Sofiah Pagara and Khylem Progella, will aim to continue the country’s success in beach volleyball. Kiodai set high expectations, citing the team’s performance in the last Asian Games, where Eslapor and Rodriguez achieved a Philippine-best fifth-place finish.
The men’s teams include Ran Abdilla and Jeron Requinton, Anthony Arbasto, and Alche Gupiteo, and the veteran pair of James Buytrago and Rancel Varga.