The Philippine Women’s National Team, miles away from their ruckus home crowd, found no respite from the much taller Vietnam and dropped their first match of the 29th Southeast Asian Games, 24-26, 12-25, 23-25, in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Having scored a win over Vietnam just two weeks ago, the Nationals were muffled in their second meeting.
Both squads picked from where they left off when they last met, figuring in a back-and-forth opening set. The Philippines climbed out of a 20-23 hole and force a deuce. But Vietnam escaped, securing a hit from Tran Thin Thanh Thuy followed by an ace. The second set turned into a clinic, with the Philippines’ sluggish effort on reception opening the door for Vietnam to take an insurmountable 18-8 lead.
Rejuvenated, the Pinays started the third frame on an 8-2 rampage. Vietnam, however, slowly climbed back. Trimming the Philippines lead down to two, 23-21, the 2015 SEA Games silver medalists uncorked a 4-0 finishing run built on spiffy blocking and transition attacks.
“This is definitely a tough loss for us pero we have to move on. Tomorrow’s another challenge against Thailand. Hopefully, we can play better against them and bring all the thinga we learned from out past matches,” said Alyssa Valdez, who led the Philippines with 11 points. Six-foot-five converted winger Jaja Santiago added 10 markers.
The Vietnamese had Tran Thi Thanh Thuy go off for 14 points while captain Thi Ngoc Hoa Nguyen added 10.
The Philippines will play 12-time SEA Games gold medalists Thailand in the semifinals tomorrow, while Vietnam takes on Indonesia.
Vietnam (3) – Thuy 14, Nguyen H. 11, Ha 7, Bui 6, Doan 5, Din 3, Pham 2, Nguyen T. (L), Bui T. (L)
Philippines (0) – Valdez 11, Santiago 10, Gonzaga 7, Maraño 5, Ortiz 4, Fajardo 2, Molina 2, Dimaculangan 0, Pontillas 0, Reyes 0, Macandili (L)