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PH’s Varga-Buytrago reaches World Beach Pro Tour Futures final


MANILA: Rancel Varga and James Buytrago defeated Latvia's Toms Liepa and Ernests Puskundzis, 21-14, 21-16, to reach the men's final of the FIVB World Beach Pro Tour Futures at Nuvali Sand Courts in Santa Rosa City, Laguna on Sunday. The Filipinos arranged a title showdown with Czech Republic's Krystof Jan Oliva and Vaclav Kurka. The Czechs outplayed Trkiye's Hasan Huseyin Mermer and Kurt Sacit, 22-20, 21-17, in the other semifinal match of the event supported by the Philippine Sports Commission and Philippine Olympic Committee. Varga and Buytrago also triumphed over the Latvian pair team in the pool play of the tournament featuring 38 teams from 16 countries. 'But we still considered ourselves the underdogs,' Buytrago said. 'It's an entirely different match, anything can happen so we approach it like any other match.' The Cebuanos needed 38 minutes to claim victory over their Czech foes. 'We knew the task at hand and we knew we could not waste opportunities like this. We went to bed early, woke up refre shed and ready to play,' added Varga, who turned 24 when they beat Japan's Yusuke Ishijima and Kensuke Shoji in straight sets on Saturday. Varga and Buytrago making it to the final round is another achievement for the Philippines, which had a 1-2 finish at the FIVB World Beach Pro Tour Futures Subic in December 2022 when Sisi Rondina and Jovelyn Gonzaga downed Gen Eslapor and Floremel Rodriguez in the final. Eslapor, who teamed up with Kly Orillaneda, failed to advance to the quarterfinals. Meanwhile, Americans Alaina Chacon and Mariah Whalen beat Japan's Riko Tsujimura and Takemi Nishibori, 21-18, 21-15, in the semifinal to forge a championship showdown with Germans Chenoa Christ and Anna-Lena Grne, who prevailed over New Zealand's Danielle Quigley and Olivia MacDonald, 21-17, 23-21. The finals matches are ongoing as of posting time. Source: Philippines News Agency