Despite starting afresh in the 30th Southeast Asian Games battle for third, the Philippine Women’s National Volleyball team still could not salvage bronze and a measure of pride on Monday.
Reeling from three consecutive losses, the Nationals were unable to snap out of their funk and hold off Indonesia’s march to the podium, succumbing in heartbreaking fashion, 20-25, 26-24, 15-25, 25-20, 14-16, at the PhilSports Arena in Pasig City.
The Filipinas are the lone contingent that failed to land a spot on the podium, finishing dead last in the four-team field.
Clinging onto a slim 8-7 edge in the rubber frame, Mylene Paat and Ces Molina connived and dealt damage in a plethora of ways, widening the gap to 12-8.
Ratri Wulandari tipped the momentum scales to Indonesia’s favor with a kill, inciting a three-point swing and slicing the deficit down to one at 11-12.
Paat restored order with a thunderous down the line, but Arsela Purnama responded with one of her own to keep things close, 13-12 in favor of the Philippines.
Molina provided in the clutch once again as she sent the Philippines at match point first, 14-12. But Hangestri Pertiwi and Tri Retno Mutiara willed Indonesia back and forged a deuce.
Purnama and Hengestri Pertiwi then put up the finishing touches that sealed a 4-0 closing run. The veteran duo joined hands to lift the Indonesians onto the podium.
“I think breaks of the game lang. Kita naman namin yung effort talaga nung team. Talagang gustong-gusto naming manalo. Ipinakita namin ang one-hundred percent namin. Di na namin na-control kasi. Iba na ang naging takbo ng game,” said Nationals head coach Shaq Delos Santos.
“Talagang pinipilit din namin kasi alam naming isa na lang eh. Isang puntos na lang makukuha na namin. Grabe rin ang effort ng Indonesia. Sobrang nire-respect namin sila,” he added.
The Nationals found themselves in a 1-2 set mire, but they sprung back to life in the fourth set through the spark provided by Eya Laure and Mika Reyes.
Behind the youthful Laure and the seldom-used veteran Reyes, the bench mob of the Nationals mounted a commanding 23-16 cushion. But the Indonesians gave a serious scare, closing in on the Philippines, 18-23.
Molina, though, delivered the differential hits at the crucial juncture of the set.
Molina pummeled one in that buoyed her team at match point at 24-18. Then following consecutive hits from Shella Bernadetha and Megawati Hangestri Pertiwi, the national team stalwart nailed the blow, bringing the match to a decider.
Molina wounded up with a double-double outing of a team-high 17 points and 12 excellent digs. Alyssa Valdez, who was suffering from a bum stomach, only played in the first three sets and finished with 14 markers.
Majoy Baron managed 11 points, two of which coming from the service area. Paat, Laure, and Jovelyn Gonzaga then chimed in seven markers each. Gonzaga also collected nine excellent receptions to her name. Reyes added four points.
Battle-tested playmaker Rhea Dimaculangan churned out the offense with 14 excellent sets, while defensive specialist Dawn Macandili notched 18 excellent digs.
On the other hand, Hangestri Pertiwi took the bulk of Indonesia’s scoring and erupted for 35 points built on 31 attacks, two blocks and a pair of aces. Purnama and Hany Budiarti added 13 and 11 markers, respectively.
Midway through the third set, Agustin Wulandhari tried to compete for a joust but she landed awkwardly. She was carried off the court and did not return in the remainder of the match.