Following an unprecedented match against China yesterday, the Philippines looked dazed in their rematch with Chinese Taipei, dropping the match in straight sets, 17-25, 19-25, 20-25 in the AVC U23 Tournament, Friday morning at the PhilSports Arena.
Letting out a torrent of 31 errors, the Philippines looked worn down right from the start. Moreover, the TPE defense relentlessly sealed off all options for the Philippines’ best scorers as no Pinay broke double digits. PHI team captain Alyssa Valdez was scoreless through the first set and for half of the second set. She managed to scrounge up eight points, but needed more than 40 attack attempts to get it. Middle blocker, Jaja Santiago, scored nine points, but had her opportunities limited due to her team’s struggles on service reception. In total, the Philippines only had 10 excellent receptions, while Taipei were at their usual defensive best and accrued 25 excellent receptions.
After the game, PHI Head Coach, Roger Gorayeb pointed out that his team struggled much in the same way they did in their first match with Taipei last Tuesday. “I’m very proud of my team. Pero we struggled on our service reception today. Given the fact na gabi na rin natapos ‘yung game namin against China kahapon, talagang ‘di maiiwasan na mapagod,” Gorayeb admitted.
To the dismay of the small local crowd present, the Philippines was never able to breakout of their initial struggles. Taipei fed off of the hosts’ errors and took a hefty 11-16 advantage in the first set. From there, TPE Libero, Lai Xiang-Chen, did an excellent job of popping up Alyssa Valdez’s attacks, forcing the local volleyball star to overcompensate and give up attack errors.
The locals started better in the second set as they stumbled into the right end of an extended exchange of errors to take an 11-8 lead. From that point, the Philippines protected their three-point advantage until their service reception betrayed them and let their opponents stage a comeback. Leading 18-16, the hosts surrendered a 9-1 Taiwan run that ended the set as the locals’ back line couldn’t get a feel for Wu Wei-Ha’s serves.
With Taipei building a lofty five-point lead, 7-2 early in the final set, the Pinay’s mounted one last comeback attempt that tied the match at 16 as the locals’ top scorers caught fire. In the end, the hosts put out their own fire as they couldn’t manage their errors. Taipei won nine of the last 13 points and moved on to a battle for fifth place tomorrow.
The Philippines campaign ends tomorrow when they face the loser of the IND-IRI match for the right for seventh place.
“Mas maganda na ilalaro namin bukas kasi maaga naman natapos ‘yung game today so makakapagpahinga ‘yung mga bata. Pero kahit anong mangayari sa team, proud pa rin ako sa nilaro nila,” quipped Gorayeb.
TPE (3) – Cheng 11, Wu J.T. 8, Chang 6, Huang 6, Chien 6, Lee T.Y. 4, Hung 3, Wu C.T. 0, Wang 0, Lee W.J. 0, Lai (L)
PHI (0) – Santiago 9, Pablo 9, Valdez 8, Sato 3, Morado 1, De Jesus 0, Laure 0, De Leon 0, Maraguinot 0, Agno (L)