THE first local volleyball tournament to be held amid the coronavirus pandemic is in the books after the Philippine Superliga (PSL) Beach Volleyball Challenge Cup successfully concluded at the weekend.

A three-day event at the sand courts of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority in Zambales, the tournament churned out quality action with Abanse Negrense A emerging as the champion in the eight-team field.

The team of Alexa Polidario and Erjane Magdato defeated Sta. Lucia A (21-15, 21-17) in the finals, capping a dominant showing for the team that saw it not dropping a game or a set throughout the tournament.

The champion squad was crisp with its attacks in the title-clincher, staving off a gallant challenge from Sta. Lucia A’s DM Demontano and Jackie Estoquia.

Along the way, Abanse Negrense A defeated Toby’s Sports in the quarterfinals and Sta. Lucia B in the semifinals.

Abanse Negrense B of Jennifer Cosas and Gelimae Villanueva, meanwhile, took bronze after beating Bang Pineda and Jonah Sabante of Sta. Lucia B (21-13, 22-20) in their battle for third.

The rest of the final results have F2 Logistics finishing fifth, followed by United Auctioneers, Toby’s Sports, and Petro Gazz.

In staging the Beach Volleyball Challenge Cup, originally set for November last year until inclement weather concerns forced its deferment, the PSL had the end view of the tournament paving the way for local volleyball to get back in the swing of things despite the coronavirus still an ongoing concern.

Volleyball tournaments were shut once the pandemic started to make its presence felt in the country in 2020 and lasted for almost a year until PSL was allowed to stage the beach volleyball tournament.

For the Challenge Cup, organizers made sure that they coordinated with all agencies concerned so as to ensure the safe conduct of the event.

Strict health protocols were put up for all players and personnel involved in the tournament to follow, including the needed swab testing.

The PSL is now preparing to have its indoor volleyball season going in the coming months. — Michael Angelo S. Murillo