Huntington Beach, Calif., August 16, 2015 - When the final Mikasa hit the sand on August 30 in Olsztyn, Poland, Jake Gibb and Casey Patterson had to swallow the bitter pill of second place.It wasn’t the exact finish to the FIVB World Tour Olsztyn Grand Slam that the United States duo was looking for but with the silver medal came a silver lining.Gibb and Patterson had catapulted themselves to the No. 5-ranked team in the FIVB World Tour rankings and that qualified them for a spot in the US$500,000 SWATCH FIVB World Tour Finals that will be held September 29-October 4 in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.It’s no ordinary tournament. The top eight men’s and women’s teams in the world plus “wild cards” get in, and the winner on each side will take home a record $100,000. And the players will only be competing for money, taking one tournament off from the brutal year-long grind of chasing points for Olympic qualification.“When we qualified for it in Poland, it was a big thing for us,” Gibb said. “It’s something we’ve had on our mind. It’s an awesome chance to play against the best in the world, to play for big money and it’s just a reward for us. We wanted to be in the top five in the world, we’re top five right now, and we’re stoked about it.”Gibb, already a two-time Olympian, and Patterson are the United States’ leading team at the moment, but they’ll have to fend off the challenge from the likes of Phil Dalhausser and Nick Lucena and Tri Bourne and John Hyden.That competition will heat up in earnest when the 2016 season opens. In Fort Lauderdale, though, Gibb and Patterson hope to return to Florida, the state where they scored their lone FIVB tournament title of 2015, the St. Petersburg Open.Gibb, 39, has credited the fiery Patterson for adding some fuel to his game since they joined forces in 2013. Patterson’s antics might belie his 35-year-old chronological age, yet the two aren’t missing a moment of enjoyment as they chase their dream of reaching the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.“All in all we’ve played a real consistent level of volleyball and that’s all you can ask, to raise your lowest level,” Patterson said. “We go in confident with some wins behind us, beating some real good teams, so mentally we’re very focused to get good finishes at the beginning of (2016) and solidify the bid. That’s the toughest thing.”It starts with the big-money event organized by Hannes Jagerhofer, the mastermind behind the FIVB World Tour’s favorite annual stop in Klagenfurt, Austria.“It was a huge relief (to qualify) because there’s so much money on the line,” Patterson said. “Just going, we get 5 grand in our pocket just to show up. Pretty awesome. I wish all tournaments were like that.“In volleyball dollars, that’s a lot of money, especially these days. Maybe not old school, but right now that’s a ton of money and it’s tough to make a lot of money especially in this sport because you have to win to earn your money. It’s not like I signed a contract for the summer and no matter how I do, I get a base salary. I don’t get anything. It goes to show how important it us to stay healthy and play at a high level.”Money is one thing. Being recognized as one of the top teams in the world adds to the prestige, but then Gibb and Patterson are well aware that they have a tough road ahead in a pool that also includes Alexander Brouwer and Robert Meeuwsen of The Netherlands, Evandro Goncalves and Pedro Solberg of Brazil, Adrian Gavira and Pablo Herrera of Spain and Daniele Lupo and Paolo Nicolai of Italy.“I think it’s awesome, man,” Gibb said. “I was looking at our pool and I was like, ‘Where’s the easy draw?’ It’s so deep, every match has that final feel where you’re playing the best in the world and it’s going to be really fun.”For Patterson, a relative newcomer to the international scene, it’s all part of the validation of his rise as a top player after not even being counted on as a regular during his collegiate days at Brigham Young University.“That’s a dream come true,” Patterson said. “I always wanted and dreamt of being a top player in the world. I was always had a chip on my shoulder because I never really started in college, I was never expected to be where I’m at now. A big reason why I’m where I’m at is because of how I felt people thought about me.“It feels awesome to kind of achieve some goals I always dreamt of doing. I talk to my wife and say ‘Is this really happening? Are we really fifth in the world?’ It’s pretty awesome. I had no idea I would be here.”Videos featuring Gibb and Patterson.