The Philippines ended its campaign in the 14th Asian Women’s U18 Volleyball Championship in ninth place, taking care of India in straight sets, 25-21, 25-19, 25-12, Monday at Nakhon Pathom Sports Centre Gymnasium in Nakhon Pathom, Thailand.
The Jerry Yee-mentored squad finished its elimination round campaign with a 0-5 record, including a 25–14, 21–25, 23–25, 19–25, loss to India back on June 6.
The team though made sure to finish the classification for 9th-11th place strong, defeating Australia and India in a dominant fashion.
“Our team was the youngest in the tournament. Most of them were 17 years old and below. In fact, our average age of our Philippine players was 15 years old,” said team manager Jose Montalbo.
“This was truly a one-of-a-kind opportunity for all of us, especially for our student-athletes,” he added. “This was was an experience we will never forget. Rest assured that these girls will excel further in two to three years.”
Forced to a tight battle by the much taller Indians early in the opening set, the Philippines got it going late in the set behind Rhose Almendralejo, Ana Hermosura, and Jothea Ramos to build a 24-20 lead.
The Indians started the second set strong with an early 10-7 lead but the Philippines quickly turned things around at 20-16 with attacks from Almendralejo and Dona Mae De Leon before unloading five straight points to close the set.
With victory already in sight, the Philippines went on a scorching start in the third set to build a 19-9 advantage. After consecutive points by the Indians, the young Pinays went for the finisher on successive points from Hermosura and De Leon.
Katherine Cortez steered the Philippines with 26 excellent sets.
“I am happy and grateful with the opportunity to play for flag and country,” said the Bacolod Tay Tung High School standout. “I must admit I was really nervous because it is the Philippines that we are representing, not just our school, or Western Visayas.”
Almendralejo led in the scoring department with 16 points while De Leon and Hermosura added 12 and nine points, respectively.