Philippines falls to Vietnam in bronze medal match
KUALA LUMPUR — The Philippine women’s volleyball team — a squad of big-name players steep in drama and intrigue — wound up with an uneventful fourth-place finish Sunday.
Taking on Vietnam for the bronze medal match, the Nationals fought long and hard but in the end showed obvious lack of chemistry to yield, 25-27, 25-22, 25-20, 25-21, in the Southeast Asian Games here.
Jaja Santiago exploded with 20 points, Alyssa Valdez 17, Jovelyn Gonzaga 12 and Aby Marano 9 for the Philippines which went one set up and 20-17 in the second set.
But Vietnam would always have an answer through unstoppable Tran Thi Thuy and Nguyen Thin Ngoc Hoa who unloaded 26 and 20 points, respectively.
PH coach Francis Vicente noted the improvement from two years ago when the Nationals failed to make the final four.
“The fighting mode is there but still needs more. But I’m happy. Maybe in the next SEA Games (Philippines 2019) the results would be different. Maybe we’ll be up there on top,” said Vicente.
Vicente said he still doesn’t want to talk about the putting up a new team although he was tasked by the Larong Volleyball sa Pilipinas to groom a team for the long haul.
“Let’s not completely disband the team. Maybe we can add more players,” added Vicente.
The Philippines won over Malaysia but lost to Vietnam in the group stage, pitting the Nationals against Thailand in the semifinals.
After losing to Thailand in the semis, the country once again faced Vietnam which we have previously defeated in the Asian Championships but were now suddenly unstoppable.
“They all played great. All of them,” said Vicente at the mixed zone looking at Valdez who was being interviewed beside him.
But the Vietnamese had more blocks, 14-5, and superior floor defense that proved to be telling. Vietnam also led in attacks 66-55.
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