SEA Games 2023

Valdez makes triumphant return; PH sweeps SG for SEA Games volleyball semis

JR Isaga

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Valdez makes triumphant return; PH sweeps SG for SEA Games volleyball semis

COMEBACK. Philippine women's volleyball team captain Alyssa Valdez celebrates after a game-winning kill at the 2023 Southeast Asian Games in Cambodia

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Alyssa Valdez returns to volleyball action since her December 2022 knee injury, helping the Philippines clinch a 2023 SEA Games semifinal berth off a Singapore sweep

MANILA, Philippines – Alyssa Valdez scored the game-winning kill to cap off a triumphant national team return as the Philippines cruised to a Southeast Asian (SEA) Games semifinal-clinching sweep of Singapore, 25-17, 25-14, 25-13, in Phnom Penh, Cambodia on Thursday, May 11.

With the win, however, comes another difficult challenge as the Philippines’ 18-year odyssey for a SEA Games podium finish takes a familiar turn on Saturday, May 13, towards Thailand, the 12-time defending champion enjoying a 28-year reign over the region.

Valdez, playing for the first time since injuring her right knee on December 6, 2022, played spot minutes in the win, backing up a balanced attack led by Tots Carlos’ 11-point effort.

Jema Galanza added 10 points in just two sets played, including 6 in the second frame alone, while Kat Tolentino also scored 10 in her best national team outing so far in her young career.

It was a bounce-back victory for the Philippines, which got a reality check as silver medalist Vietnam triumphed in straight sets, 25-20, 25-17, 25-19, a day earlier. The Filipinas opened their campaign with a 25-5, 25-5, 25-5 demolition of Cambodia.

Setting the tone with a first-set pullaway, the Philippines led Singapore, 8-7, in the second before again creating a comfortable cushion at 14-8 off a Galanza-powered 6-1 surge that eventually ballooned to an 11-point gap at the end, 25-14.

Singapore only fought within 6-8 early in the third before another 5-1 run, this time spearheaded by Carlos, on the way to a 13-7 separation, spelled the difference for the two sides.

From that point, the Philippines poured in exactly double the offense, 12-6, to finish off the Singaporeans for good in another blowout set win, 25-13.

Middle blocker Zi Tian Chua and wing spikers Jolyn Xin Yi Chua and Soo Teng Quek led Singapore in the losing cause. –

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