Iran overwhelms PH Asian U-23 girls
Iran gave the Philippines a rude welcome in its return to the international stage, hammering out an emphatic 25-22, 25-22, 19-25, 25-20 victory Friday night in the Asian Under-23 Women’s Volleyball Championship.
The Iranians drew big performances from Mahsa Saberi and Mahsa Kadkhoda to frustrate the Filipinos who were backed by a 5,200-strong crowd at Philsports Arena in Pasig City.
Saberi had 16 points and Kadkhoda tallied 14 as the Iranians grabbed the early lead in Pool A.
Proving that it is capable of translating the success of its men’s team to the women’s squad, the Iranians flashed a superior floor defense and capitalized on an error-strewn performance by the Filipinos.
Not even a 31-point explosion from Ateneo star Alyssa Valdez could lift the Filipinos out of an early hole as Iran repulsed repeated rallies by the hosts.
The Filipinos took the third set thanks to a flurry of aces from Valdez who had six points off the serve.
“The big difference was their experience,” said skipper Valdez. “They (Iranians) hung tight especially when the big points came.”
Philippine coach Roger Gorayeb rued his squad’s inability to limit its errors particularly in the first two sets.
The Filipinos registered 40 errors compared to Iran’s 27, negating their 50-41 advantage in attack points in the 104-minute match.
“We expected the errors, especially since the team was formed just three weeks ago, but the team has the potential to be really strong,” said Gorayeb. “We can still improve.”
The result left the Filipinos with no recourse but to beat Kazakhstan in their final Pool A match at 2:30 p.m. Saturday.
Valdez injured her thumb in the second set, but the skipper quickly dismissed the thought of missing the clash with Kazakhs today.
In other matches, Thailand crushed Uzbekistan, 25-14, 25-10, 25-13, in Pool D, while India overwhelmed Macau, 25-10, 25-14, 25-19 in Pool B play.