Showing their vaunted form, Thai club EST Cola made short work of the F2 Logistics Cargo Movers, 25-14, 25-15, 25-17 in the Philippine Superliga Invitational Final round at the FilOil Flying V Centre.
The Thais were noticeably holding back, opting for controlled hits on balls they could have smashed. Still, the visitors’ steady floor defense and and strong serves were too much for the locals to handle. EST Cola broke away midway through each set, only having trouble in the third set.
Getting better passes and digs, the Cargo Movers managed a five-point lead, 8-3, in the third set. But the Thais slowly plugged away, as open hitter Chuewulim Sutadta found gaps in F2’s blocking for easy points. Trailing 16-17, EST Cola scored nine straight points to seal the match.
Former Cagayan Valley Lady Rising Suns import Chuewulim Sutadta led EST Cola with 18 points, while fellow open hitter Janthawisut Sasipaporn had 12 markers.
“Our strategy was to serve hard and to serve strong. We knew that F2’s key players were #3 (Aby Maraño) and #11 (Cha Cruz). If we serve good, #3 will not be able to quick spike. We also wanted to serve to #11 to keep her pressured,” said EST Cola head coach Dokmai Chamnan.
EST Cola are a collection of the best young Thai players, with their ages ranging between 18-21. Srithong Wipawee, team captain Bundasak Jarasporn, and libero Anisa Yotpinit all competed in the AVC U23 tourney in the Philippines last year.
Maraño and Cruz still managed eight and seven points respectively, but F2 had just 23 attack kills as a team.
F2 now need to win their remaining games against Petron and RC Cola-Army to contend for the championship.
EST Cola (3) – Chuewelim 18, Janthawisut 12, Boonlert 9, Pochareon 7, Bundasak 7, Nuanjam 5, Srithong 3, Sittisad 0, Yotpinit (L)
F2 Logistics (0) – Maraño 8, Cruz 7, Soriano 6, Gendrauli 5, Mabbayad 3, Mercado 1, Serafica 1, Pacinio (L), Cortel (L)