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2021 SEA Games

SEA Games: PMNVT suffers close sweep vs Thailand, drops to classification phase

The Philippine Men’s National Volleyball Team’s gallant stand was not enough to topple Thailand, falling in straight sets, 20-25, 27-29, 22-25, to bow out of the 31st Southeast Asian Games, Monday at the Đại Yên Arena in Quảng Ninh, Vietnam.

Just like in 2019, the tournament in the Hanoi Games has a pool format with the Philippines being slotted with Thailand and Cambodia in Group B with the top two teams advancing to the semifinals.

However, with this loss and the nationals’ 21–25, 26–24, 28–30, 27-29 loss to Cambodia last May 14, the Philippines bowed out of contention.

The PMNVT was coming off a silver finish in the 2019 Games held at Philsports Arena in Pasig.

The Philippines defeated Thailand in 2019, 17-25, 25-20, 23-25, 27-25, 17-15, to advance to the gold medal match.

This time around though, the Filipinos figured in an error-laden game.

After a first set loss, Marck Espejo and Bryan Bagunas towed the nationals to matchpoint. However, the Filipinos could not close out — mostly due to errors, failing to break four set points.

In the following set, the Filipinos and the Thais were knotted at 19-all. Thailand was able to gain a 22-20 lead before Johnvic De Guzman and Espejo were able to tie things up once more.

However, an Espejo error followed by an Anut Promchan attack set the Thais to matchpoint. An attack error by Espejo gave Thailand the match.

The Philippines will face Malaysia in the 5th–7th place play-off on May 19.

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