After dropping the first four sets, the Philippine Men’s National Volleyball team managed to carve out the fifth frame against the Fujitsu Red Spirits to forge a 22-25, 21-25, 24-26, 20-25, 25-23, result in a friendly match held at the Fujitsu Kawasaki Gym, Saturday.
And despite going home with only a set in their bags, Philippine team head coach Dante Alinsunurin remained positive as his wards were able to adjust quickly against the more agile Division II squad.
“Malaking tulong sa amin na limang sets ‘yung nangyari. Tapos kahit na sobrang bilis ang kalaban namin, naka-adjust kami,” said Alinsunurin.
“Nakita namin at napag-aralan namin ‘yung set play nila. Ang problema talaga, masyadong matining ‘yung depensa nila sa baba,” he explained.
The Philippines led by as much as three points in the fifth frame, 17-14, but the home team managed to shackle the scores at 21.
Not wanting to end up empty-handed, Marck Espejo fired consecutive off-speed hits. Kim Malabunga then followed it up with a huge rejection to tow the Philippines at set point advantage, 24-22.
After that, Francis Saura converted an attack which finally sealed the fifth set victory for the Philippine team.
Though losing all sets but one, the Rebisco-backed squad was able to put up a great fight against the Red Spirits as they staged multiple comeback attempts in the first three sets.
The Nationals will go up against Chiba Zelba on Sunday, which marks their fourth straight tune-up match. They will then take a break on Monday and conduct a team practice before resuming their string of tune-up matches on Tuesday, against FC Tokyo, where they will be joined by Bryan Bagunas.