After a decade-long absence from the tournament and a heartbreaking loss yesterday, the Philippine Women’s Volleyball team redeemed themselves and made history with sweet straight-set win over the Malaysia 25-15, 25-18, 25-16 in the 2015 Southeast Asian Games hosted by Singapore.
The Nationals’ offense was simply too powerful for the Malaysians to control. Though Malaysia had more blocks and aces, the Philippines blasted their defense, converting 40 attacks to Malaysia’s measly 17. The Pinays were also incredibly efficient, incurring only 19 errors while Malaysia coughed up 29 of their own, mostly from service mishits.
Mirroring their effort yesterday against Indonesia, the Philippines got off to hot start, only this time their fiery play proved sustainable, handily taking the first set. Former NU Lady Bulldog, Dindin Santiago-Manabat rebounded from a anaemic effort yesterday with a flurry in today’s opening set. Manabat scored six of her eight total points in the first canto, sparking her team’s dominance throughout the match.
Malaysia put up more of a fight in the following set with their blocking and floor defense, giving the Nationals trouble in the second set. After trailing by as much as five early in the frame, Malaysia trimmed the PHI lead down to two, 14-12, as Aby Maraño misfired on a running attack. However, the Philippines quickly adjusted with their setter, Jia Morada varying her sets beautifully. The Pinays claimed nine of the next 11 points all off attacks from the indomitable front line of Daquis, Valdez, and Santiago, 23-14. After a Daquis attack hit nothing but net, Malaysia coughed up consecutive errors, ending the set with the Philippines holding a comfortable 2-0 sets lead.
The final set served as a victory lap for the Pinays with the Malaysians playing deflated after losing the first two sets. Reserves, Rhea Dimaculangan, Bea De Leon, and Aby Maraño all got a chance to shine as they continued their unrelenting attack leading to a historic win.
As it has become the norm, Ateneo’s Alyssa Valdez topped all scorers with 13 markers. She received more help from her fellow outside hitters with Rachel Daquis and Jovelyn Gonzaga combining for 14 markers compared to yesterday’s frail six-point combined effort.
The Nationals will continue their campaign on Saturday when they face the heavy favorites, Vietnam at 10 a.m.
PHI (3) – Valdez 13, Manabat 8, Daquis 7, Gonzaga 7, Santiago 5, Morado 3, Maraño 1, Soltones 1, Dimaculangan 0, Ortiz 0, Lazaro (L)
MAS (0) – Beh 9, Noraini 4, Luk T. 4, Elaine 4, Luk E. 3, Winnie 2, Kuk 2, Cherise 1, Low 1, Joo (L)