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MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine women’s volleyball team cruised to a dreamlike debut at the 2023 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games after destroying the newly built Cambodian national squad, 25-5, 25-5, 25-5, in Phnom Penh on Tuesday, May 9.
Dell Palomata and Mylene Paat along with Creamline star teammates Tots Carlos and Jema Galanza took turns giving the Cambodians a rude welcome in the international circuit, hammering down merciless crosscourt kills and quick attacks to the delight of the Filipino fans in attendance.
Cambodia, which only held tryouts last year and has not fielded a team in more than 50 years, only scored 4 points that did not come off errors from the Philippines.
Despite the lopsided affair, the Philippines opted to not field team captain Alyssa Valdez, who is still recovering from a major knee injury. The country’s flag bearer, however, was seen warming up before the Cambodia game with a decent lift in her spikes.
“I think the Philippines [did] the job. Serves, receives. They really committed to it, to just push the opponent, to stay in different levels,” said Philippine head coach Jorge de Brito. “It’s hard to play when the difference is so much, but our team is really good today. They kept the pressure and I like this.”
“You don’t start from the top. You start slowly. And I think they’re in the right way, using their young guys, playing competitions against the strongest ones. That’s the way,” De Brito said about Cambodia’s SEA Games debut. “You will not improve if you don’t pass all the stages, level by level.”
The Philippines, still with a lot of pent-up energy, will have less than 24 hours to get ready for perennial podium finisher Vietnam on Wednesday, May 10, 6 pm (Manila time).
The Filipinas have not clinched a SEA Games medal since the 2005 Manila SEA Games 18 years ago. – Rappler.com