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Philippines falls to Australia to start AVC campaign

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Tiebreaker Times Philippines falls to Australia to start AVC campaign News Volleyball  Shaq delos Santos Jia Morado Denden Lazaro Australia (Volleyball) Alyssa Valdez 2018 AVC Cup for Women
Photo from AsianVolleyball.net

Failing to build off their hot start, the Philippine Women’s National Volleyball Team collapsed in the maiden game of their AVC Women’s Seniors Championship journey against Australia, 25-21, 25-22, 24-26, 16-25, 10-15, in Thailand.

The phenom Alyssa Valdez paced the Philippines with 25 markers.

The Nationals slugged through a back-and-forth opening frame, with errors costing them a 17-19 deficit. Following a timeout, the Philippines received a boost from Cha Cruz-Behag and Mylene Paat. The pair combined for five of their team’s next seven points, setting up Valdez’s ace that closed the Philippines’ comeback and gave them the first set.

Paat chipped in 17 points built on 13 spikes, two blocks, and an ace.

Australia threatened to take a wide lead in the second frame, racing to a 6-2 advantage. The Volleyroos, however, suffered from a spell of errors and bad passes, opening the door for the Philippines to force an 11-all tie. Knotted at 21, the Philippines made a decisive run behind Cruz-Behag, who provided much of the offense in the closing 4-0 run.

After two sets of blowing leads, the Volleyroos finally caught a break in the third set. Staring down a 12-18 deficit, the Pinays mustered an 8-1 run behind off-the-bench contributors Jasmine Nabor, Aiza Maizo, and Grethcel Soltones. Australia still made it to set point first, stifling the Philippines’ attack at the net for a 24-22 lead. Valdez and Paat connived to save the Philippines in the next two points, but were blocked in the set’s last two sequences, extending the match.

The Volleyroos built on their momentum in the fourth set, going to power-hitting Rachel Rourke to build an insurmountable 22-15 lead and extend the match.

The Pinays held a short-lived 8-6 gap in the decider, which the Australians quickly erased thanks to final salvo from Rourke. The open hitter drove in a hit that gave her squad a 13-8 lead.

Rourke towed Australia with 33 points, 27 from spikes and six from blocks.

The height of Australia proved to be the difference, picking up a huge 15-7 advantage in blocks.

The Philippines will play Iran tomorrow.

The Scores:

Philippines 2 – Valdez 25, Paat 17, Cruz 8, Marano 7, Ortiz 5, Soltones 2, Pontillas 1, Nabor 0, Sato 0, Galanza 0, Lazaro L, Gohing L.

Australia 3 – Rourke 33, Kudziela 9, Lean 6, Carey 6, Reeve 6, Stojanovic 6, Tait 5, Morrow 4, Blowes 1, Sadler 0, De Innocentiis L.

Miguel Luis Flores fell face first into sports writing in high sch9l and has never gotten up. He reluctantly stumbled into the volleyball beat when he started with Tiebreaker Times three years ago. Now, he has waded through everything volleyball - from its icky politics to the post-modern art that is Jia Morado's setting.

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