SEA Games 2023: PH men’s volleyball team claims fifth place, downs Singapore
MANILA, Philippines—The rebuilding Philippine men’s volleyball team placed fifth in the 32nd Southeast Asian Games as Jayvee Sumagaysay executed the game-winning block to escape gritty Singapore, 25-23, 23-25, 25-22, 25-23, in a classification match on Monday at Indoor Olympic Stadium in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
The Filipino spikers, who matched its previous finish last year, displayed grace under pressure in each set to withstand the Singaporeans, led by Jordan Ryan Wong and Shergill Ajay Singh.
With Jau Umandal stepping up to close out the match with a 23-22 lead in the fourth set, Wong kept Singapore afloat, nailing a down-the-line spike to tie the game but Jade Disquitado quickly answered with his own kill to reach match point.
Sumagaysay rose to the occasion and blocked the attack of Singh to end the Philippines’ campaign with two straight wins as Brazilian coach Sergio Veloso rushed to his middle blocker and hugged him to savor their hard-earned victory.
The Philippines missed the semifinals for the second time in a row after a winless Group A campaign with straight-set losses to finalists Indonesia and Cambodia as well as Singapore.
The 18-year-old Disquitado led the charge anew for the nationals to cap his first SEA Games experience. Umandal, the lone holdover from the 2019 team that won a silver medal, also contributed to the team, while setter Vince Mangulabnan executed the plays and nailed a big block on Singh to ignite their fourth set fightback from a 15-18 deficit.
Lloyd Josafat also drilled the crucial points as he nailed back-to-back blocks to win the third set, where they crawled back from a 13-17 disadvantage.
Filipino-American opposite spiker Steve Rotter came off the bench for the third straight game but he still delivered the clutch hits in the third and fourth sets, as starting utility Leo Ordiales played instrumental in their fifth-place-clinching win.
The national team, which went from winning the silver medal in 2019 to being reduced to a program in disarray less than four years later, survived Malaysia in thrilling five sets, 25-19, 20-25, 25-21, 24-26, 17-15, on Sunday.
Singapore ended up in sixth place in its SEA Games return after skipping last year’s edition. Myanmar placed seventh after eking out a 25–22, 25–17, 23–25, 18–25, 15-13 win over Malaysia, earlier.