SEA Games: Philippines falls to Vietnam in women’s volleyball opener
MANILA, Philippines–The Philippines’ hopes of reaching the finals of women’s volleyball suffered a huge blow after bowing to Vietnam, 25-21, 23-25, 19-25, 25-20, 8-15, last Tuesday night in the Southeast Asian Games at Philsports Arena.
Unable to ride the momentum of a solid fourth set performance, the team of coach Shaq Delos Santos faded in the deciding set, putting the Filipinos in a must-win game against defending champion Thailand on Thursday.
Thi Thanh Thuy Tranh sparkled on both ends for Vietnam with 27 points, 13 digs and 13 receptions, while Thi Xuan Nguyen and Thi Nga Bui had 15 and 14 points respectively.
Playing before a crowd of 6,000, Alyssa Valdez tossed 22 points, while Cess Molina and Jovelyn Gonzaga contributed 12 points each for the Filipinos.
“Despite the loss, I think we did a lot of positive things,” Valdez said. “We have to improve and leave behind the errors from this game. We train tomorrow and hopefully, we apply that in the match against Thailand.”
The Philippines took the first set in 30 minutes with Majoy Baron scoring on a block after Molina put the hosts at set point. Down 20-24, the Philippines came within 23-24 only for the Vietnamese to win a joust at the net. Delos Santos challenged a net call that proved unsuccessful, tying the match at one set apiece.
A Valdez hit followed by a Xuan error pushed the Filipinos to set point, 24-19, in the fourth frame. Valdez sealed the set with another down the line hit, sending the match into a fifth and deciding frame.
Vietnam’s net defense took over in the fifth as it neutralized Gonzaga and Valdez.
The clash against the 2017 bronze medalist Vietnam was crucial for the Filipinos, who needed to finish in the Top 2 at the end of the classification phase for a shot at the gold medal.
“This was a must-win game for us,” said Valdez. “Unfortunately, we lost. We’re hoping for a better game against Thailand. We continue to stay positive and we really have to put all our heart in the match against Thailand.”
The Thais opened the four-team tournament with an emphatic 25-13, 25-15, 25-9 victory over Indonesia.
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