PH volleyball team falls to Kazakhstan in Asian Seniors
BIÑAN CITY, Philippines (UPDATED) — The Philippine national women’s volleyball team absorbed its first defeat in the 19th Asian Senior Women’s Volleyball Championship after succumbing to Kazakhstan in straight sets, 23-25, 20-25, 19-25 on Friday, August 11 at the Alonte Sports Arena.
The Kazakhs imposed their defensive dominance early in the game as they listed 4 blocks in the opening set that helped stop the Filipina spikers' hot start. They finished with 17 huge blocks as compared to the Philippines' 3.
The national squad overcame some miscues to come back in the second set, 18-17, with Jaja Santiago taking the wheel. But Kazakhstan maintained composure and delivered timely aces and efficient attacks to take a commanding two sets to none lead.
The Kazakhs sparked a huge run in the 3rd when they rattled off 8 unanswered points to go up 18-10 midway in the set. PH attempted to orchestrate a rally as it went within striking distance, 19-23, but was unable to get back on the board.
Alyssa Valdez paced the Philippine team with 14 points on 11 excellent attacks and 3 service aces.
She got ample support from Santiago, who pitched in 13 markers on 9 spikes, two blocks, and two aces.
Jovelyn Gonzaga added 6 points, while Kim Fajardo and Ces Molina had 4 apiece for the Philippines, which rounds up the first group stage with a 1-1 win-loss card.
Katerina Tatko produced a game-high 20 points on 14 attacks and 4 aces, while Yekaterina Zhdanova had 11 for Kazakhstan, which meanwhile topped Pool A at 2-0.
The national team earlier opened its hosting duties of the volleyball tourney with a convincing sweep against a Hong Kong squad, which meanwhile finished the initial group stage with a 0-2 record.
Both the Philippines and Kazakhstan are through to the quarterfinal phase after registering victories in Pool A of the competition.
After advancing to the top 8 of the 14-nation meet, the two squads are now guaranteed slots in the Asian Volleyball Cup next year - which also marks the first time PH has qualified in the biennial event.
The participating nations are provided a rest day before the second round commences on Sunday, August 13. The two qualifiers from each group will face one another in the crossover round, which will later on dictate the placement for the quarters.
Philippines will next face South Korea on Sunday at 5:30 pm.
Hong Kong, on the other hand, will play in the classification round for the 9th to 14th place.
Kazakhstan (3): Tatko 20, Zhdanova 11, Beresneva 9, Safronova 6, Petrenko 5, Akilova 4, Batkuldina 3
Philippines (0): Valdez 14, Santiago 13, Gonzaga 6, Molina 4, Fajardo 4, Maraño 3, Dy 1, Reyes 1