AVC Cup: Creamline-PH ousts South Korea, faces Thais in quarterfinals
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine women’s volleyball team eliminated South Korea with a dominant 25-18, 25-13, 25-17 victory to clinch the third seed in Pool A in the quarterfinals of the AVC Cup on Thursday at PhilSports Arena.
Buoyed by their big four-set win over Iran on Wednesday, the Filipinos sustained their fine play and dominated the young Koreans, who are high school players with an average age of 17, in one hour and 26 minutes to overcome their previous ninth place finish in the tournament in 2018.
The Philippines won its last two games in Pool A and finished with a 2-2 record to forge a knockout quarterfinal match against Pool B’s No. 2 seed Thailand (2-1) on Saturday.
Jema Galanza and Tots Carlos, once again, showed the way for the Cool Smashers, while setter Jia De Guzman displayed her brilliant playmaking anew.
Galanza, who scored a tournament-high 21 points 24 hours ago, drilled 11 kills for 12 points, while Carlos chipped in 11 points built on eight attacks, two blocks, and an ace.
Celine Domingo was also instrumental with nine points, highlighted with three block points. Michele Gumabao also joined the block party with three to finish with nine points as the home team nailed 12 kill blocks in the match.
“We’re happy we made it to the quarterfinals. Hopefully, we play a better performance in the quarterfinals. Good thing we have a one-day preparation. We will do our best to perform well (in the quarterfinals),” said Creamline head coach Sherwin Meneses in Filipino.
“Thailand is really a strong team. They had a lot of exposure from international tournaments. They are a young team but they have good chemistry. We will try our best to give the fans a good performance,” he added.
Meneses also drew big plays from bench players Lorie Bernardo, Pau Soriano, and Rose Vargas in each set. Bernardo played in the whole third set, where she scored all of her three points. Vargas and Soriano added two markers each in the first two sets, respectively.
“Our bench players are always ready. All of my players have the same training so I expect them to deliver,” he said.
South Korea lost all its four matches in Pool A to place last in the nine-team tournament.
The Koreans gave up 24 errors in the game. They kept the Filipinos within striking distance to start each set, including the first frame, leading 3-2 before the home side scored eight straight points to steal the momentum, 10-3, and led as many as 11, 24-13. But the youngest AVC squad saved five points only to commit a service error.
Kim Seyul and skipper Hwang Jimin led the Koreans with nine and eight points, respectively.
“These two wins are amazing for Philippine volleyball, it’s history—beating Iran and Korea for the last 30 years or more,” said Philippine National Volleyball Federation president Ramon “Tats” Suzara.