BEACH VOLLEYBALL. The national women’s team with Brazilian coach Joao Luciano Kiodai (5th from left) are deep in training at the Subic Bay Sand Court. They are (from left) strength and conditioning coach John Paulo Agir, Dij Rodriguez, Sisi Rondina, coach Paul Jan Doloiras, assistant coach Romnick Rico, Gen Eslapor, Bernadeth Pons, Jovelyn Gonzaga and team manager Rosemarie Molit-Prochina. (Contributed photo)

MANILA – A two-athlete squad from Latvia arrived on Sunday and joined Team Singapore as early birds for the Volleyball World Beach Pro Tour Futures which opens with the qualification round on Dec. 8 at the Subic Bay Sand Court.

Martins Plavins and Mihails Samoilovs set foot in Subic and were expected to try the Subic courts later in the day with the Singaporeans also beefing up their preparations for exhibition matches against the Philippine teams on Monday.

Two teams each from Japan and Australia and one from the Czech Republic are due on Monday, as well as technical officials from the Asian Volleyball Confederation (AVC) and International Volleyball Federation led by technical delegate Barry Wedmaier of Australia.

Twelve athletes each from Thailand and Japan are expected on Tuesday for the Futures tournament supported by the Philippine Sports Commission, PLDT Home and Rebisco and also backed by Akari, F2 Logistics, Asics, Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority, Philippine Olympic Committee, Smart Giga Play, Cignal Play, OneSports, OneSports+, Senoh and Mikasa.

“It will be a busy start of the week as the teams arrive in bulk,” said Ramon “Tats” Suzara, president of the organizing Philippine National Volleyball Federation.

The Philippine pairs—now coached by Brazilian Joao Luciano Kiodai—of Dij Rodriguez and Gen Eslapor, Sisi Rondina and Jovelyn Gonzaga and Grydelle Matibag and Khylem Progella will test their mettle against Singapore’s Cecilia Hui Chin Soh, Kai Yun Alicia Tan, Eliza Hui Hui Chong, Zhao Rong Phua, Hui Ying Ang and Yan Ting Cheryl Ng.

The 16-team main draw will be from Dec. 9 to 11.

The Subic beach volleyball event is the third international tournament hosted this year by the PNVF after the Volleyball Nations League at the Smart Araneta Coliseum last June and the AVC Women’s Cup at the PhilSports Arena last August. (PR)