The Philippine Men’s National Volleyball Team first had to survive a close first set before dominating Afghanistan in the next two, securing a 25-23, 25-16, 25-12 victory for their breakthrough win in the 19th Asian Games on Wednesday afternoon at the Deqing Sports Centre Gymnasium in China.
This victory propelled the Philippines to an even 1-1 win-loss record in Group F, keeping their Final 12 hopes alive.
In the first frame, the Afghans threatened to come back from a 24-21 deficit after back-to-back blocks by Sayed Yousufi on Steven Rotter. However, Bryan Bagunas decisively ended it for the Philippines with a powerful hit.
Building on that momentum, the Filipino Spikers raced to a 17-11 lead in the second stanza en route to a blowout, moving a set away from sweeping Afghanistan, 25-16.
The rampage didn’t stop for the Philippines as they cruised to a 25-12 victory in the third period, finishing the game in just 66 minutes.
Philippines’ head coach, Sergio Veloso, stuck with his starters from the last game against Indonesia, choosing Bagunas, Rotter, and Jau Umandal as his wing spikers; Kim Malabunga and Lloyd Josafat as his middle blockers; and Vince Mangulabnan as the setter.
The Filipino squad will face their biggest challenge to date, meeting powerhouse Japan tomorrow at 7 p.m. for a spot in the next round.