Rebisco stood up to Thai club Diamond Food, but fell short in its valiant effort in the 2021 Asian Men’s Club Volleyball Championships on Monday, October 11, at Terminal 21 in Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand.
Diamond Food outlasted Rebisco in a five-set thriller that featured three extended sets, 36-34, 24-26, 26-28, 25-19, 15-12, to end the preliminary round games.
Rebisco will settle for the 5th and last spot in Pool B and will be relegated to the classification round for 9th and 10th place, where they will face the 5th placer in Pool A.
The Philippine squad was up 2-1 after the third set, but Diamond Food regained momentum behind opposite hitter Kantapat Koonpee, who proved to be unstoppable for the Thais.
Rebisco had a 9-6 lead following back-to-back attacks by Jao Umandal in the final set, but the Thais rallied back with a 5-1 run that sealed the thriller and secured the 4th spot in Pool B.
Umandal, the Philippines’ tournament leading scorer, again shone with 26 points. Mark Alfafara delivered 23 points, including a team-best 3 blocks, while skipper John Vic de Guzman added 16 points.
“We know we could have won, it’s just we had some lapses at the end game. In the fourth set, our intensity went down because we were so excited after taking a 2-1 lead,” Umandal said.
“But when the fifth set came, we started fresh and forgot about everything that happened in the first and fourth sets. I still believe we did our best to perform and try to win.”
The match was a tight affair from the get-go as the opening set was dragged to a 36-34 extended set in favor of Diamond Food.
Rebisco escaped with a second-set win after it won crucial challenge for a foot fault that equalized the match at 1-1.
Diamond Food was on its way to take a 2-1 lead after leading by five midway in the third set, but Rebisco staged a 6-0 run to take control of the set.
“This serves as a huge lesson for us all. We came here to compete and to learn, and exit the tournament with nothing but all the lessons we can gain,” Umandal said.
“This is the time for us to know our games better inside the court, and we will use this experience to further determine how we can improve ourselves.” – Rappler.com