AVC Cup: Gritty Creamline-PH bows out as Thais claim last semis slot
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine women’s volleyball team stunned Thailand in the second set but its gallant stand was not enough to pull off an upset, falling 18-25, 25-23, 20-25, 9-25 in the AVC Cup quarterfinals on Saturday in front of a 5,200-strong crowd at PhilSports Arena.
Chatchu-on Moksri delivered 21 points as the Thais recovered from a rare set loss to the Philippines in the second set, which marked the country’s first set win against the Southeast Asian Games champion since the 2019 ASEAN Grand Prix.
Sooksod Thanacha provided the spark off the bench with 12 points, nailing the timely hits to edge the home team in the third set, which set the pace for their dominant fourth showing to finish the two-hour match. Pimpichaya Kokram and Khatthalee Pinsuwan were also instrumental with 14 and 10 markers, respectively.
Despite committing 24 errors in the quarterfinals, Thailand set a knockout semifinal game against China on Sunday at 4 p.m.
Creamline-Philippines is relegated to the classification for 5th to 8th places against winless Australia at 1 p.m.
“We’re happy because at least we won a set. We enjoyed the game and the team earned a big experience and a lot of learnings that we can adapt for our future games,” said Creamline coach Sherwin Meneses in Filipino.
“The breaks of the game went to Thailand in the third. But we are still happy because we still put up a good fight,” he added.
The Filipinos took advantage of the error-filled second set of the Thais as Michele Gumabao gave her team a 22-20 lead but Pinsuwan trimmed it to a one-point deficit, 23-22.
Celine Domingo pushed her team to set point, 24-22 before Moksri saved a point. Jema Galanza nailed the set-clinching attack to deliver the Philippines’ first set win over Thailand in three years.
The Philippines sustained its momentum in the third set, which was tied at 20-all. However, Hattaya Bamrungsuk embarked and capped Thailand’s five straight points, including a crucial rotation error from the home side, to take a 2-1 match advantage.
The Thais unleashed a 7-2 start in the fourth set, where they limit the Filipinos to only five attack points, three coming from Tots Carlos.
Gumabao led the charge for the Cool Smashers with 13 points, including two aces. Tots Carlos had 12 points, while Domingo also contributed in the country’s gallant stand with eight points.
Galanza, the country’s leading scorer who averaged 14.3 points in the pool stage, was held to just six points.
The home team, led by skipper and setter Jia de Guzman, has less than 24 hours to recover for its classification game.
“My players are fighters. Tired or without rest, they will give their 100 percent. No excuses for tomorrow’s game,” Meneses said.