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MANILA, Philippines – Ananiev Metodi Alexander proved to be too much of a problem as Team Philippines fell short once again against Al Gas Janoob Iraq in the 2014 PLDT Home Fibr Asian Men’s Club Volleyball Championship on Tuesday, April 15 at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The Iraq-based squad repeated their elimination round win against the Philippines in the battle for 5th-8th placing, sweeping the Power Pinoys, 25-17, 25-21, 25-21.
The Power Pinoys were able to enjoy progress, battling neck and neck throughout the beginning of the sets and even leading at times, although they somehow crippled down towards the late stages, eventually bowing down in the end.
Metodi Alexander fired 19 points on 15 spikes and 4 blocks, while Hussein Mustafa Gani added 11 markers.
“Di namin na-convert yung parang 2nd chance points. Kahit kalahati man lang sana dumikot yung score. Instead na puntos, nagiging error pa namin,” said captain Christian Fernandez.
“Naging offensive-minded na naman kami. Ayaw rin namang pagpababa ng ranking ng Iraq. Tinibayan rin nila ang atake nila.”
(We were not able to convert on virtual second chance points. Instead of points, they became errors for our side. We became offensive-minded, but Iraq didn’t want to lose as well.)
With a little help from Al Gas Janoob’s countless errors, most coming from the service zone, the home crew were able to keep in step with their foes at 14 apiece in the opening set, behind Alnakran Abdilla and Jeffrey Malabanan’s hits. However, Metodi and Mustafa united to help the visitors pull away.
In the second set, Cedric Legrand heated up and started to pound the Iraqis with convincing hits, bringing the Philippines again to 12-all deadlock. However, it was the closest they got in that frame as they lacked the fighting spirit towards the end to get buried to a two sets to nothing gap.
In the next set, Jayson Ramos did a better job on the defensive end, scoring on block points while Jeffrey Malabanan and Peter Torres tried to salvage at least one set for the nationals with their offense.
The Power Pinoys were even able to lead 10-9 behind a Torres spike, and pushed Iraq to the hilt at 14-all. However, Al Gas-Janoob pounded Philippines in the end, taking a 23-17 edge before finishing the match.
“While we are at a disadvantage in height, I didn’t want that to be a reason. We had lapses in our floor coverage towards the end,” said national team head coach Francis Vicente.
The Power Pinoys drew respect from Iraq’s head coach Alaa Khalaf Abdul Sa but he believes there should be a lot of work done if the Southeast-Asian country wants to succeed or reach greater heights.
“The Philippines is a good team but they have to get a better system, coach, players, and training,” he said.
Reinforcement Cedrick Legrand once again paced the nationals with 13 points on 11 spikes.
The Power Pinoys will play for one last time tomorrow, Wednesday, April 15 against the loser of the Lebanon-Chinese Taipei match in a battle for 7th place. Game time is 10 AM – Rappler.com