Swashbuckling start for PH Power Pinoys | Inquirer Sports

Swashbuckling start for PH Power Pinoys

By: - Reporter / @cedelfptINQ
/ 02:38 AM April 09, 2014

THE PHILIPPINES’ Kheeno Franco slams it off Mongolia’s Munkhbayar Ariunbayar in yesterday’s match at MOA Arena. RODEL ROTONI

MANILA, Philippines — Playing better than expected, the Philippines, represented by the PLDT HOME TVolution Power Pinoys, cut to size a taller Mongolian squad, 25-13, 25-23, 25-16, Tuesday at the start of the Asian Men’s Volleyball Club Championship before a good-sized crowd at Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.

With Australian import Cedric Legrand leading the assault, the Power Pinoys found their rhythm early, shook off a sluggish second set, before finishing with aplomb to grab the headstart in Pool A, where seventh seed Iraq is also bracketed.

ADVERTISEMENT

The 25-year-old Legrand, a pro in Australia, fired 18 points, including 13 off kills and three blocks, while former De La Salle-Dasmariñas star Alnakran Abdilla tallied 11 of his 12 points from spikes.

“I’m happy with the way we played,” said coach Francis Vicente. “We expected to win but I’m impressed with how the team played.”

FEATURED STORIES

Over at nearby Cuneta Astrodome, Qatar’s Al Rayyan walloped Turkmenistan, 25-23, 25-20, 19-25, 25-16, in Pool C play.

Also winning their opening games were Zahraa Al Minaa of Lebanon and Kondensat-Zhaikmunay of Kazakhstan.

The Lebanese stunned Vietnam’s Duc Long Gia Lai, 25-20, 20-25, 25-22, 18-25, 15-13, in Pool B while the Kazakhs routed Hong Kong’s Green Dragon, 25-16, 25-17, 25-20, in Pool C.

Papua New Guinea and Chinese Taipei were still playing at press time.

The Power Pinoys, armed with a solid net defense and plenty of options on attack, pounced on the jittery Mongolians early, wrapping up the first set in just 19 minutes.

Leading 22-13 in the second set, the Power Pinoys allowed the Mongolians to come within 22-23, before a service error by the Mongolian captain Ariunbayar Munkhbayar helped seal the second-frame escape for the home team.

Feeding off the energy of the crowd, the Power Pinoys’ reserves Jeffrey Malabanan and Christian Fernandez helped finish the job in the third set with timely hits.

ADVERTISEMENT

“It’s a good win,” said Legrand. “This gives us confidence when we face the big teams.”

Actor Richard Gomez made a cameo appearance in the second set, entering the game to wild cheers from the crowd. Curiously, it was in his time on the floor when the Mongolians mounted that furious rally.

The Power Pinoys also boosted their hopes of reaching the next round with only three teams in their group.

A loss by Mongolia to Iraq on Saturday will send the Power Pinoys to the next round regardless of the result of their match against the Iraqis on Thursday.

Read Next
Don't miss out on the latest news and information.

Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.

TAGS: Asian Men’s Volleyball Club Championship, AVC, Cedric Legrand, Christian Fernandez, Francis Vicente, Jeffrey Malabanan, Mongolia, Power Pinoys, Richard Gomez, Volleyball
For feedback, complaints, or inquiries, contact us.

Subscribe to our sports news

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.



© Copyright 1997-2022 INQUIRER.net | All Rights Reserved

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.