The Philippines extended Vietnam to a thrilling five-setter before yielding to the visitors as Indonesia scraped past Thailand to rule the second leg of the Southeast Asia Volleyball League (V.League) before a big and appreciative crowd at the City of Santa Rosa Multi-Purpose Complex in Laguna on Sunday night.
Despite massive support from the local fans, the hosts succumbed to another heartbreaker against the Vietnamese, 25-22, 18-25, 20-25, 26-24, 8-15, finishing winless in the regional tournament for the second straight leg.
On the other hand, Indonesia pulled off a reverse against Thailand, 25-27, 20-25, 25-21, 25-21, 15-9, to complete a 3-0 campaign and bag the City of Carmona leg after their conquest at home in Jakarta a week ago.
Bryan Bagunas, Marck Espejo, and Steven Rotter were on target once again, but the Philippines ran out of gas in the clincher after a stellar comeback in the fourth set, settling for another 0-3 outing.
Bagunas fired 21 points, Espejo had 20 on 16 hits, three blocks, and two aces, while Rotter, the Best Opposite Hitter in Leg 1, put up 19 laced with four blocks in the foiled bid for the Filipinos, who absorbed a five-set defeat against Vietnam in Jakarta.
Rotter was hailed as the Best Opposite Spiker for the second leg in a row, and Farhan Halim of Indonesia earned the MVP plum in the event organized by the Philippine National Volleyball Federation headed by Ramon “Tats” Suzara and presented by PLDT and backed by the City of Santa Rosa, the Philippine Olympic Committee, Philippine Sports Commission, One Sports, and Cignal.
Thuan Nguyen Ngoc had 22 points on 17 attacks, three blocks, and two aces as Vietnam notched the silver medal with a 2-1 record, highlighted by an upset of Thailand. Thuan Tu Thanh, Tuyen Tran Duy, and Tien Duong Van added 19, 18, and 11 points, respectively.
Leg 1 MVP Fahry Septian Putratama hammered 17 points, while three more players scored in twin digits to show the way for the Indonesians, who also swept the Jakarta leg.
Best Outside Spiker Jakkrit Thanomnoi had 24 points to pace Thailand in a bronze-medal finish this time.
The other awardees were Boy Arnes Arabi (2nd Best Outside Spiker), Hendra Kurniawan (Best Middle Blocker), and Prasojo Prasojo and (Best Libero), all from Indonesia.
The Kai Truong (2nd Best Middle Blocker) and Van Duy Dinh (Best Setter) made it for Vietnam.