MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED)－ After previously scoring an upset in the Asian Seniors, the Philippines has now lost back-to-back to powerhouse Vietnam in the 29th Southeast Asian Games in Kuala Lumpur.
The national women’s volleyball team put up all the fight they could muster, but once more came up short against Vietnam and a podium finish, 27-25, 22-25, 20-25, 21-25, in the biennial games on Sunday, August 27 at the Malaysia International Trade and Exhibition Centre.
Despite a hot start, the Philippines found itself on the receiving end of a swift Vietnamese rally, and the team was down 13-16 into the second technical timeout.
It seemed, however, as if viewers would have a flashback of the squads’ Asian Seniors’ meeting－ when PH came from behind to stun Vietnam in the opening set. The national squad did it again with an emphatic 27-25 set win to commence the battle for 3rd.
But unlike their previous victory in the Asian tourney, the Filipina spikers were the ones catching up in the next few sets, and they failed to replicate a win that would have guaranteed the Philippines its first podium finish in 12 years.
Jaja Santiago led all PH scorers as she delivered a team-high 20 points on 17 attacks and 3 service aces, while Alyssa Valdez added 17.
Jovelyn Gonzaga had 13 points for the 4th placers, while Aby Marano and Kim Fajardo contributed 9 and 5, respectively.
Tran Thi Thanh Thuy put up a game-high 26 markers on 22 attacks, 3 blocks, and an ace for the Vietnamese, who showcased their net dominance with a 14-5 advantage in the blocking department.
Skipper Nguyen Thi Ngoc Hoa chipped in 20 points on 17 spikes and 3 blocks for the bronze finishers.
Later in the day, defending champions Thailand will look to defend the regional crown once more when it takes on Indonesia in the women’s volleyball final slated at 1 pm.
Meanwhile, the Philippine men’s volleyball team had failed to advance to the event’s semifinals after finishing 3rd in the group stages with a 1-2 win-loss card.
Both the men’s and women’s squads had last won bronze in Manila’s hosting of the games back in 2005. －Rappler.com
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