Dream run ends
The fairy tale run is over and the Philippines has a silver medal to show for it.
Indonesia unveiled a far superior game and quashed the gutsy fighting stand of the hosts with a 25-21, 27-25, 25-17 in the men’s volleyball final of the 2019 Southeast Asian Games on Tuesday evening at PhilSports Arena.
The Indonesians were truly peerless in the competition, practically breezing their way undefeated to the crown.
The Filipinos settled for a second place finish, although it would rank a bit higher than any other runner-up finish in the biennial meet.
For one, the Nationals reached the gold medal round for the first time in 42 years. And then there was the moral victory they scored by merely playing a gold medal match.
The result shone a light on the depth of talent in the oft-neglected men’s volleyball scene, which has settled for crumbs of attention left over by the far more popular women’s side.
Head coach Dante Alinsunurin acknowledged that his team ran into problems during the match against Indonesia but what the group achieved proved a point: The men’s program needs to be supported in the future.
“Well our performance really had some problems earlier but my motivation for them before the match was that we already got a medal,” said Alinsunurin in Filipino.
“Still, we should always play at our best no matter what. I just hope that this program continues.”
And the Nationals did have their moments.
The Philippines took it to the champions in the second set, trading dramatic kills that brought the house down until the might of its foes simply proved too much.
Indonesia eventually used its experience to rack up its 10th SEA Games gold medal.
Putu Randu, who was vibrant both with his play and his taunting, led all scorers with 20 points while Rivan and Ardian Sigit had 17 and 11 points, respectively.
Espejo led the Nationals with 15 points while Bryan Bagunas added 11.
Bagunas was the hero when the Philippines upset Thailand in the semifinals, allowing the men’s team to carry the fight for volleyball after the star-laden women’s squad finished without a win in the tournament. INQ
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