After the Philippine Women’s Volleyball Team suffered a straight set loss to Indonesia in their opening game, all eyes were tuned in on the men’s team hoping to start their volleyball campaign on a high note. They were not disappointed, as the Philippine Men’s Volleyball Team trounced Malaysia in four sets, 20-25, 25-23, 25-18, 25-19, at the South East Asian Games (SEA Games) hosted by Singapore.
The Philippine team started off relatively well in the first set. They entered the first technical timeout of set one with a slim 8-7 lead thanks to a John Vic De Guzman combination play. After a trade of points, De Guzman went on to score again, giving the Philippines a 10-8 lead. They were able to hold onto the lead entering the second technical timeout of the set, 16-14. Unfortunately, Malaysia was able to counter-attack at the waning moments of the set, as they went on to outscore the Philippines and earn a 23-20 lead. The set ended after De Guzman was blocked on an attack, giving Malaysia a 1-0 set lead.
In the second set, the Pinoys once again led early on, 8-5. Both teams went on to battle for the set, trading the lead multiple times until the set was tied at 21. From there, the Philippines mounted a last ditch effort to salvage the set, outscoring Malaysia 4-2 to tie the set points at 1-1.
The Malaysians started off hot in the early moments of the third set, taking a slim 6-4 lead over the Philippines. From there the Pinoys quickly countered, and after an AJ Pareja attack, the set was tied at 7-all. The Philippines continued to push the attack, taking a 12-8 lead after Rex Intal blocked a Malaysian attack. The Pinoys didn’t stop there, pushing their lead to six at 17-11, thanks to De Guzman scoring on a cross court, and Kheeno Franco executing a perfect quick attack. Malaysia attempted to trim the lead, but was easily doused by Intal, for the next three points of Malaysia was immediately answered by quick attacks from the Ateneo stalwart. UAAP MVP, Marck Espejo got into the action as well, scoring back-to-back points, the first via an awkward left handed punch on the ball that sailed past the defenders, and the second with a block on a Malaysian spike. The set ended with Ish Polvorosa performing a Jia Morado impersonation, ending the set with a dump to give Philippines a 2-1 set advantage.
The Filipinos rode their momentum in the fourth set, jumping to an early 5-2 advantage with the help of Intal, De Guzman, and Pareja’s brilliant play. Malaysia was able to bounce back and trim their deficit to a single point, 10-9, but the Philippines was able to go on a 6-2 run to retain their lead, 16-11. Former NU Bulldog, Peter Torres was able to contribute to the team as well, scoring on two runners to give the Filipinos a 20-16 lead. Malaysia would only score two more points in the set, with De guzman scoring on an emphatic block to give the Pinoys match point, and Intal ending the match with a quick attack.
Espejo lead the winning team in scoring with 17 points, followed by De Guzman’s 14, and Intal’s 12. They were the only Pinoys to score in double digits, with the next highest scorer, Pareja, pitching in 9. Jian Qin Sim from Malaysia led all scorers with 27 points, and Jia Meng Cheoh contributed 13 for his country.
While Malaysia attempted more attacks, 117-113, Philippines was more efficient, scoring on 55 while their opponents netted only 49 points via attacks. Philippines was also better defensively, with 50 block attempts compared to Malaysia’s 35.
The Philippines will attempt to continue their momentum when they go on to face Myanmar tomorrow at 5pm.
PHI (3): Espejo 17, De Guzman 14, Intal 12, Pareja 9, Franco 4, Torres 4, Polvoroza 4, Camposano 2, Montero (L)
MAS (1): Sim 27, Cheoh 13, Mohd 6, Liew 5, Yap 3, Huang (L)