Gritty Manila volleybelles drag unbeaten Thais to 4 sets
UST-KAMENOGORSK, Kazakhstan—Playing an inspired game, Rebisco PSL Manila stood up to title favorite Supreme of Thailand before surrendering a 25-20, 25-12, 18-25, 27-25 decision Monday in the Asian Women’s Club Volleyball Championship.
It was the Filipinos’ fourth straight defeat but one that won them the admiration of the big crowd at Boris Alexandrov Sports Palace. The spectators cheered them as they displayed grit and spunk against the unbeaten Thais.
The Philippines still has a chance to nail fifth place—the best it got here with foreign reinforcements was seventh—if it wins its last two assignments.
“We did a great job,” said national coach Francis Vicente, who had at least two pep talks with his players before the match.
“The game went well and you know that the game flows well when we support each other.”
The Filipinos, led by top scorers Jaja Santiago, Jovelyn Gonzaga and Aby Maraño, put the Thais on their toes as they dominated the third set after dropping the first two.
“I hope the team realizes how strong it is,” said Vicente.
“They fought toe-to-toe with a world-class team. That means they are also world-class.”
Were it not for a questionable call by the referee at first match point 24-22—he called a Thai hit a touched ball when it was clearly long—the game could have a different ending.
“The referee’s call was bad,” said Vicente, looking back at the match clincher. “But we played well.”
Santiago scored 22 points, while Gonzaga and Marano finished with 14 and 13, respectively.
The Philippines had more blocks, 10-8, and service aces, 7-2, against the Thais.
Kim Fajardo dished out 84 excellent sets compared to Parinya Pankeaw’s 70 of the Thai club, while Rebisco had more excellent receives, 10-8.
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