Breaking their 36-year absence from the Asian Games, the Philippine Women’s National Volleybal Team rallied to frantic start, but succumbed to world powerhouse Thailand, 22-25, 12-25, 15-25, in Jakarta, Indonesia.
Behind Jaja Santiago’s serving, the Nationals surged to a 9-2 lead, forcing their Southeast Asian neighbors into a timeout. The Thais rallied behind superstar Pleumjit Thinkaow, pulling ahead 16-15 after a technical timeout. Alyssa Valdez piled together a solo 4-0 run to give the Nationals a 19-16 lead, but that was their last gasp for the match. The Philippines’ reception dissolved in the late game, allowing Thailand to nail four aces in their closing 9-3 rally.
The Philippines’ struggle with reception persisted until the end of the match, falling behind 14-7 in the second set before giving the Thais a 16-9 cushion in the last set.
Despite the loss, Philippines head coach Shaq Delos Santos lauded his team’s desire to learn against one of the top Asian clubs.
“Alam naman natin na ‘yung team natin in the process pa lang of building. Pero alam namin, especially alam nila na may maganda pa kaming ilalaro doon,” said the Petron tactician.
Valdez finished with seven points, while Jaja Santiago and Kianna Dy added six apiece.
Thailand’s young core of Moksri Chachu-on and Kokram Pimpichaya pounded the Nationals with 15 and 13 markers, respectively.
The Pinays last faced the Thais in the 2017 AVC Seniors Women’s Championship, where they also lost in straight sets.
The Philippines next faces World No. 8 and 2016 Olympians Japan on August 21.
Philippines (0) – Valdez 7, Dy 6, Santiago 6, Maraño 5, Paat 4, Ortiz 3, Reyes 2, Cruz 1, Manabat 1, Lazaro (L), Macandili (L)
Thailand (3) – Chachu-on 15, Pimpichaya 13, Pleumjit 10, Wilavan 8, Onuma 6, Pornpun 6, Malika 4, Thadtao 2, Piyanut (L)
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