In full force, Philippines opens Grand Prix by whipping Vietnam
The Philippine women’s team, buoyed by a jam-packed home crowd and playing with a full arsenal, bared its potential on Friday by whipping Vietnam, 25-21, 25-23, 25-21, to start its campaign in the Asean Volleyball Grand Prix on a bright note.
“The team makes me proud; it was a successful first game here at home,” said head coach Shaq delos Santos. “But we know the quality of these teams here.”
Comebacking Alyssa Valdez scored 14 points to lead the Nationals in the victory that put the country on track for at least a silver in this tournament.
The team will face Thailand depleted anew on Saturday as Valdez, Jia Morado and Maddie Madayag will fly to Iloilo City to join their clubs in a Premier Volleyball League road game.
Thus, “it’s doubly important for us to win on Sunday,” said delos Santos, whose wards tackle Indonesia on Sunday for a shot at the silver.
“It’s possible because we played very well against them in Thailand,” he added. “It’s tough but our motto is to keep trying.”
Unlike its five-set triumph over Vietnam in the first leg, the Philippines was more deliberate this time around, taking control most of the match and refusing to give the enemy an inch.
“The improvement is there, we just keep doing our best every match,” Delos Santos said. “This is a good sign, but there’s still a lot to improve especially in court movement.”
Ces Molina and Mylene Paat helped up with 13 points each, while Majoy Baron, the first leg’s best blocker, added nine, including three kill-blocks.
The Nationals are taking part in this tournament as part of their Southeast Asian Games preparation. The team is eyeing at least a bronze in the regional meet that the country will host later this year.