SEA Games: Philippines upsets Thailand to reach men’s volleyball final
MANILA, Philippines–Proper execution and solid blocking.
Those were the things that the Philippine men’s volleyball relied on as it hammered out a monumental upset over Thailand, 17-25, 25-20, 23-25, 27-25, 17-15, in their semifinals encounter in the 30th Southeast Asian Games at PhilSports Arena in Pasig City.
“I’m so happy, I can’t even explain what I’m feeling right now,” Philippines head coach Dante Alinsunurin said in Filipino.
“Although we won, we’ll still need to work on a lot of things so we can get the job done,” he added.
Top men’s stars Bryan Bagunas and Marck Espejo led the way but it was the excellent floor and net defense of Kim Malabunga, Joshua Retamar and Ranran Abdilla that made the difference against the four-time champions.
Down two sets to one, the Filipinos stared down three match points in the fourth set before taking the game to a decider courtesy of timely attacks from Bagunas and Malabunga.
The Philippines again gobbled up Thailand’s match point in the fifth and then capped a broken play with a winner from Bagunas to score the victory and send the crowd into delirious celebration.
Assured of a silver, the Philippines will gun for its first gold in the regional meet on Tuesday against Indonesia.