April 14, 2024

Varga, Buytrago beat Japanese, advance to semis

RANCEL VARGA and James Buytrago kept the Philippine flag flying in the FIVB Volleyball World Beach Pro Tour Futures by advancing to the semifinals with a 21-15, 26-24 victory over Japan’s Yusuke Ishijima and Kensuke Shoji  on Saturday.

It was a huge double celebration for Varga, who turned 24 on Saturday and was serenaded by the crowd at the showcourt of the Nuvali Sand Courts by Ayala Land in the City of Santa Rosa.

“This is awesome, thankful for 24 years of existence,” Varga said. “Thankful for the opportunity to fight for the country.”

Buytrago, 25, was pleased to deliver for the Philippines and his old friend from Cebu.

“Blessed to win,” Buytrago said. “For flag and country, and to celebrate my friend’s birthday.”

The Filipinos march on to the last four against Toms Liepa and Ernests Puskundzis of Latvia, a pair they defeated 21-10, 22-20 in pool play.

Liepa-Puskundzis edged Tomas Semerad and Adam Miroslav Stocek of the Czech Republic, 21-18, 24-22.

Turkey’s Hasan Huseyin Mermer and Kurt Sacit defeated Germany’s Philipp Huster and Bennet Poniewaz, 21-19, 11-21, 19-17, to advance to the semifinals against Krystof Jan Oliva and Vaclav Kurka of the Czech Republic, who eliminated the other German pair of Robin Sowa and Maximilian Just, 23-21, 23-25, 15-13.

In women’s quarterfinals, Germany’s Chenoa Christ and Anna-Lena Grüne advanced with a 21-18, 21-15 victory over New Zealand’s Katie Sadlier and Meile Rose Green.

Sadlier and Green earlier denied Gen Eslapor and Kly Orillaneda of the Philippines a spot in the last eight, 21-18, 16-21, 15-12.

Christ and Grüne play New Zealand’s other team Danielle Quigley and Olivia MacDonald, who eliminated Sweden’s Louise Månesköld and Malin Bergholm, 21-18, 21-19.

Riko Tsujimura and Takemi Nishibori defeated Harumi Sakai and Mayu Kikuchi, 18-21, 21-18, 15-13, in an all-Japan quarterfinal match and will face Alaina Chacon and Mariah Whalen of the US, who dispatched Isael’s Anita Dave and Ronni Rivka Lavie, 21-18, 21-14.

Eslapor and Orillaneda fell a tad short of the quarterfinals as the New Zealand pair of Katie Sadlier and Meile Rose Green marched on with a 21-18, 16-21, 15-12 victory.

The lady spikers from the Philippine Air Force looked to have gained control of the high-noon showdown with a dominant second set only to fall behind early in the decider with the Beach Ferns wrapping up the match in 55 minutes.

The 5-foot-6 Orillaneda rued having to play catch-up in the third.

“It was mostly because of our errors,” Orillaneda said. “We gave them some crucial points and it’s disappointing because we knew we could pull it off, we just didn’t execute.”

“We need to be able to convert points in transition,” said the 5-foot-7 Eslapor.