Valdez hails team’s veterans after Korea sends PH crashing to battle for 9th
NAKHON Ratchasima, Thailand—Alyssa Valdez was at her usual superb form as she drilled in team-high 15 points in the Philippines’ 25-13, 24-26, 25-7, 25-21 loss to South Korea Friday.
The loss was tough, but the perennially optimistic superstar opted to focus on the country’s little victories—like low-profile veterans Maika Ortiz and Aiza Pontillas displaying a burst of brilliance during the match’s dire moments.
“Maika stepped up big time, not only on points, but she and Aiza really lifted the energy of everyone on the court,” said Valdez as she and the rest of the squad headed to the team bus after the defeat.
Valdez added: “Everyone really did well, especially the seniors in the team; they played very important roles in the crucial part of the game.”
Ortiz and Pontillas, once a fearsome tandem for the University of Santo Tomas, scored a combined 12 points off the bench when coach Shaq delos Santos scrambled the second unit amid an impending annihilation by Korea.
It proved effective as the Koreans were caught wrong-footed by the shift, blowing a set-point, 24-23, as Valdez, Cha Cruz and Pontillas hammered consecutive points.
“The issue with the team remains the consistency, and it really showed in the third set,” said Valdez. “But in the fourth set we decided we wanted to give them a good fight and finish the match with our heads held up high.”
The Philippines will thus battle for ninth place on Saturday against Kazakhstan.