Taiwanese stay unbeaten, put high speed hitters on bubble
Taipei’s Kingwhale squad rallied from four points down late in the deciding set on Tuesday to clip PLDT, 23-25, 25-20, 25-23, 20-25, 15-13, and bolster its title game chances in the Premier Volleyball League Invitational Conference at Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
And while the Taiwanese rose to 2-0 after dealing PLDT its second loss in four games to put their foes on cliff’s edge, Kingwhale gave idle Creamline the first championship game berth after erasing a 12-8 deficit in the decider as Chen Li-Jun delivered the timely hits with six straight points to reach match point, 14-12.
It was a sorry loss for PLDT, which can only hope for the Taiwanese to lose their last two matches to forge a tie for the second berth.
Kingwhale, made up of a merry mix of young and experienced players and led by Brazilian import Bea Flavio de Carvalho, closes out against the Cool Smashers on Friday and then against Cignal the following day.
Coach Yen-Min Teng then paid tribute to counterpart George Pascua, whose wards failed to hold on to that four-point advantage that put to naught a rally from 2-1 sets down.
“Today’s competition made us learn and it taught us many things. Their coach (Pascua) is very smart,” said Teng.
PLDT produced 73 attack points, 10 more than Kingwhale, but yielded 37 points in errors as the Taiwanese, who finished with 26 miscues, played it smart all throughout and never gave up to squeeze out the thrilling victory.
Pascua could only acknowledge the compliment in Filipino: “Of course, I appreciate what [Teng] said. I am happy that my efforts are being recognized by a foreign coach.
“That’s one of my motivations for doing this.”
The High Speed Hitters couldn’t pounce on the chance to dispose of the Taiwanese, who lost Carvalho to cramps early in the fourth set.
PLDT also had three of their errors coming at winning time, with Mika Reyes responsible for one of those when her serve failed to clear the net.
Chen Chieh had a good all-around game with 11 points, 24 digs and eight receptions. Qin-Yao Tsai added 10 points, while setter Yi-Jen Liao dished out 36 excellent sets.
Dell Palomata showed the way for PLDT with 19 points. Reyes chipped in 17 points. Jules Samonte had 16 points, while Jovielyn Prado added 11 that went with 20 digs and 22 excellent receptions.