- April 13, 2022 02:02
By Trisha Marie L. Abuyan and Aimerose C. Atienza
From being known as one of Far Eastern University’s (FEU’s) Queen Tamaraw in indoor volleyball, Bernadeth Pons is now making a name in beach volleyball as she plunged into the sand-filled sport.
The former Lady Tamaraw temporarily let go of her outside spiker position and is currently raising not only the green-and-gold’s flag but also the country’s pride in beach volleyball.
Inside the court
Upon entering the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) with FEU, Pons focused on indoor tournaments.
Through her prowess, Pons captained FEU in the Final Four from Season 77 to 80 and finished silver in her last year leading the team.
Aside from being the Lady Tam’s power spiker, she also had to juggle her duties as a beach volley player for the green-and-gold.
“Noong first-year college ako, ako ‘yung in-assign na maglaro ng beach volleyball pero noong una kasi, ayoko pa talaga ng beach volleyball kasi magsusuot ka ng sports bra sa laro so medyo conservative pa ako that time (When I was in first-year college, I was assigned to play beach volleyball but at first, I do not want to play beach volleyball yet since you have to wear a sports bra during the game so I was still a bit conservative during that time),” Pons said in an online interview with FEU Advocate.
After her collegiate stint, Pons entered the professional league and continued to simultaneously play for indoor and beach volleyball under Team Petron in the Philippine SuperLiga (PSL) wherein she also had a good share of triumphs.
Defining moment to change court
It was during the 2019 International Volleyball Federation (FIVB) Beach Volleyball World Tour Boracay Open tournament when Pons felt that she wanted to give more attention to the sport.
“Doon ko nakita na kaya namin makipagsabayan sa ibang countries and [we thought] what if may support sa beach volley na same sa indoor (That is when I saw that we can compete with other countries and we thought what if beach volley gets the same support as indoor volley),” she mentioned.
The 25-year-old volleyball superstar said that once they get the support, she will then focus on beach volleyball. Fortunately, Rebisco gave them full support for the sport.
“Hindi rin naging madali ‘yung desisyon na iyon, it’s God’s plan na rin ganoon ang nangyari (It was also not an easy decision, it’s God’s plan it happened),” Pons remarked.
Embracing the sun
Transitioning from indoor to beach was a challenge for Pons, especially due to the environment change.
From the air-conditioned arena to playing under the heat of the sun and skipping through the sands, the former Queen Tamaraw underwent major adjustments.
“Mabilis lang naman s’ya i-adjust basta tuloy-tuloy lang yung program and training (Adjusting was easy as long as the program and training is continuous),” Pons said.
Enduring the heat was all worth it for Pons, as she and Cherry “Sisi” Rondina, former skipper of University of Sto. Tomas (UST) are dubbed as the beach volley queens.
Playing for Creamline, the tandem of Pons and Rondina had a clean 13-0 run in the recent Beach Volleyball Republic (BVR) on Tour two-leg tournament held in Santa Ana, Cagayan last October 31.
“Parehas kami ng gusto, gusto namin manalo. Parehas kami na dedicated sa ginawa namin. Parehas kami na i-commit talaga namin yung sarili namin sa ginagawa namin (We have similar goals, we want to win. We are both dedicated to our craft. We both commit ourselves on what we do),” Pons on the secret behind their duo.
Despite the trials, quitting was not an option for Pons, wanting to take home the gold for the country in the next South East Asian (SEA) Games.
The 2021 SEA Games was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic and she considered it as a blessing in disguise, giving them more time to prepare.
With that, Pons together with Rondina will hone their skills in other international tournaments and will be competing in Asian Senior Beach Volleyball Championship in Phuket, Thailand on November 23.
(File photo of Raymond De Dios/FEU Advocate