MANILA, Philippines – Team Philippines crashed out of the 2014 PLDT Home Fibr Asian Men’s Club Volleyball Championships after bowing down to a superior Al Rayyan-Qatar side on Monday, April 14 at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Al Rayyan of Qatar pounded the hapless Power Pinoys early in their quarterfinals encounter to pull off a 25-17, 25-14, 25-21 rout, and advance to the semifinals of the tournament where they shall face Kondensat-Kazakhstan.
“Qatar is a very strong team as expected, the problem is that we ran out of first balls. Nobody was able to receive so we were not able to run plays,” quipped PH captain Christian Fernandez.
“We needed combination plays because they are very tall but we couldn’t execute.”
The Power Pinoys gave away too many free points in the opening set, committing severals errors from the service zone. Qatar easily took the set, with the towering duo of Yosleyder Cala Gerardo and Saeed Ibrahim Mohamed doing the damage.
The second set looked more disastrous for the home team as they ran out of fuel to receive. Qatar feasted on this setback, with Italian import Savani Christian scoring on off speed attacks.
The third set looked different, however, as the Power Pinoys wanted to salvage their campaign. Aided by their better floor coverage and blocking, the nationals raced to a 13-12 edge. Jason Ramos and Cedric Legrand scored service aces in that stretch as the squad tried to rattle their opponent’s defense.
But that was when Christian took over, scoring three straight to give back the lead to the Qataris, 16-14.
Al Rayyan then got a boost from opposite spiker Waleed Mubarak who came off the bench to deliver the back-breaking spikes that ended the Power Pinoys rally aspirations.
Christian is happy with Al Rayyan’s accomplishment so far, given they only had three practice sessions before the tournament.
“We are happy we make it to the semis it is my first time with this team,” said the veteran Italian national team member,who joins a team composed primarily of the silver medal-winning players in last year’s edition.
Christian scored 19 points on 17 attacks, while Cala Gerardo added 10 markers. Legrand carried the fight for the nationals scoring 9 points.
The Power Pinoys were badly dominated on offense, scoring just 19 spikes compared to 41 for the taller Qataris. Al Rayyan also scored 10 block points and 6 service aces.
The loss relegated the Philippines to the battle for 5th-8th placing. They shall battle Al Gas Janoob of Iraq – the same squad that defeated them in the preliminaries – on Tuesday, April 15.
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