Clinging onto a 13-12 edge in the final chapter of a bronze medal match, after the Philippines had fought back from a one-set deficit, the Filipinas were bent on completing their escape act on Indonesia.
Ces Molina then seized the moment in a frantic rally between two teams, refusing to let a whole nation behind them down.
Using the decoy set up by Majoy Baron in a combination play which Rhea Dimaculangan orchestrated to perfection, Molina pummeled a hit that brought the home country’s podium bid to a crescendo.
The Filipinas sat at match point, 14-12, well within reach of salvaging a measure of pride after the dire straights of the elimination round.
“Wala, ano na ‘ko noon eh. Grabe na ‘yung adrenaline ko kasi 14 [na], napakalapit na natin sa katotohanan talaga,” Molina, a national team stalwart, recalled.
“Bronze medal talaga. Isa na lang ‘yun eh.”
The stars were starting to align for the Philippines on a fateful Monday night — until they weren’t.
Megawati Hangestri Pertiwi’s late-game heroics emerged then, stealing the spotlight from Molina’s career-defining moment. She strapped Indonesia on her back, leading a 4-0 swing that knocked the Filipinas senseless.
Just like that, the Philippines had kissed its bronze medal hopes goodbye before a crowd of 6,000 supporters. The glorious conclusion the Nationals had hoped for turned into a nightmare.
“Actually after the game, talaga sobrang lungkot ng lahat. Nag-iiyakan talaga sa dugout namin,” Molina, who wounded up with 17 points and 12 digs in a losing cause, recounted.
“Wala, wala kaming nagawa kun’di tanggapin kasi hanggang doon lang eh.”
It was truly heartbreaking for the Filipinas, to say the least. But gracious in defeat, Molina gave it to the more composed and experienced Indonesians.
“Binigay namin ‘yung lahat, nagkaroon tayo ng training camp, nagkaroon tayo ng lahat pero lamang na lamang talaga lahat ng kalaban namin dito sa experience at exposure talaga,” she bared.
“So masasabi namin na kung tinatanggap na nga lang namin na kung hindi talaga ‘to para sa amin kasi last one na tayo pero alam mo ‘yun talagang tyinaga din nila na makuha ‘yun e, may na-injure [Agustin Wulandhari] pa nga sa kanila, di ba?”
As painful as it was, though, the Filipinas will not let the narrative of being winless throughout the 30th Southeast Asian Games define their bid to bring glory to the country. From pushing the T4-led Vietnam side to the limit, to dragging reigning queen Thailand in deep waters in an epic marathon set, down to being on the cusp of an Indonesian upset, the Nationals gave the Philippines something to be proud of.
“Wala rin ako masabi kasi everyone did their job talaga. Lahat nag-step up, lahat binigay ‘yung best nila going to this match. Kaya nakaka-proud pa rin ‘yung team na ‘to at ‘yung narating ng team na ‘to,” Molina asserted.
“Talagang umaangat na ‘yung volleyball natin talaga.”
But the Filipinas know that they should never settle for less. From this point onward, there’s nowhere to go but up.
“Alam mo ‘yung parang goal namin ngayon, sa susunod hindi na pwedeng mangyari ‘yung mga ganito. So may limit na talaga — eto na ‘yung pinakamababa natin na magiging rank. Alam mo ‘yun? Kasi kaya natin sumabay, kaya natin dumikit, kinukulang tayo pero nakakasabay tayo,” Molina said.
“Later on, magiging maganda rin ‘yung volleyball natin at aangat rin tayo tulad ng ginagawa ng Thailand, Indonesia, at Vietnam,” she then continued.
“Someday, ‘pag mas marami pa tayo naging experience siguro, siyempre makakapag-uwi rin tayo ng medalya para sa bansa.”
Not qualifying for SEA Games motivated AURA PH to be MPL GOAT
Chooks-to-Go donates food, kits to San Pedro City Jail
Bienve Marañon expresses desire to play for Azkals
Kevin Alas almost went to La Salle, transfer to Ateneo
6-foot-8 Phillips bros to play for La Salle
BCAP condemns Baldwin’s ‘suggestions’ for PH basketball: ‘We are being underestimated’
Tab Baldwin declines offers from Ateneans to pay fine as money should go to COVID-19 drives
‘Super Friends’ blasts Tab Baldwin’s comments on PH basketball
Chooks-to-Go donates 5,000 pcs of dressed chicken to CESAFI
Barangay Ginebra reunite in SMC HQ, pack PPEs for frontliners
Makati survives Ablaza injury, San Juan to force MPBL North Game Three
Robles, Custodio take over Basilan, lift Davao Occi to MPBL South do-or-die
- ESports22 hours ago
At 15, Kielvj stopped school for ML — and has mom’s full support
- Bandwagon Wire4 days ago
Stats Don’t Lie: The state of Philippine three-point shooting
- Basketball5 days ago
Did Kai Sotto just get sleeved up like dad Erv?
- Football4 days ago
Hartmann marvels at football prodigy Lance Ocampo