AVC Cup: Creamline-PH puts up tough fight vs China in three-set loss
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine women’s volleyball team gave defending champion China a major scare in the last two sets before absorbing a 16-25, 22-25, 20-25 loss in the AVC Cup on Tuesday at PhilSports Arena.
Setter Jia De Guzman, who missed the opener due to health reasons, made a huge impact in her return, providing the brilliant plays that activated her spikers Tots Carlos, Michele Gumabao, and Jema Galanza to push the Chinese to their limits.
De Guzman’s playmaking and serving gave the home team a boost and a 12-8 lead in the third set before Wu Mengjie and Cao Tingting restored the orders for China to tie the set, 14-all.
Gumabao also made the timely hits followed by Carlos’ massive kill for an 18-15 advantage. But Zhuang Yushan drilled the big blows connecting to Hu Mingyuan’s blocking to gain a 21-19 lead before Wu put on the finishing touches for their third win in Pool A.
Wu erupted with 24 points to keep China unbeaten on top of their group, while Zhuang added 10 markers.
The Philippines suffered its second straight loss so far, but the Cool Smashers were proud of their gallant stand against the five-time defending champion.
“We gave our best for today’s game and going up against China, to be able to stick with them for most of the game is something we can be proud of and something we will bring this kind of experience to our next back-to-back games,” said De Guzman, who also scored five points including two service aces after returning for the national team for the first time in three years.
Creamline coach Sherwin Meneses, who also missed the opener, was proud to see his players fighting hard against a world-caliber volleyball squad.
“I’m proud of their game. They performed well and didn’t go down without a fight,” said Meneses in Filipino. “Hopefully, we could bring this kind of performance in our last two games as it will be crucial for us.”
Creamline needs at least a win in its last two games against Iran (1-1) on Wednesday and South Korea (0-2) on Thursday to reach the quarterfinals and avoid a last-place finish.
Carlos led the nationals with 15 points off 13 spikes and two aces. Gumabao and Galanza had 11 points each, while libero Kyla Atienza took care of the home floor with her solid defense.
The Philippines erased a 14-17 deficit in the second set with Galanza’s ace tying the frame, 18-all, before Gumabao’s attack and ace gave her team a 22-20 lead. But Wu and Zhuang came to the rescue for China to escape with a two-set advantage.