Philippines destroys Cambodia in women’s volleyball opener
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine women’s volleyball team showed no mercy as it blasted Southeast Asian Games first-timer Cambodia with a masterful 25-5, 25-5, 25-5 rout to open its Group B campaign on Tuesday at Indoor Olympic Stadium in Phnom Penh.
Team captain Alyssa Valdez, who is still recovering from a right knee injury, didn’t play but her Creamline teammates Jema Galanza and Tots Carlos formed a potent combo with national team mainstay and Chery Tiggo’s MVP Mylene Paat to school the home squad.
As host of the 32nd edition of SEA Games, Cambodia fielded a women’s volleyball team for the first time. It only scored four out of their 15 points with 11 coming from the visiting squad’s errors.
Middle blockers Dell Palomata and Cherry Nunag also shone as returning setter Jia De Guzman provided the brilliant plays.
“I think the Philippines [did] the job. Serves, receives. They really committed to it, to just push the opponent, to stay in different levels. Also, it’s hard to play when the difference is so much, but our team is really good today. They kept the pressure and I like this,” said national team coach Jorge Souza de Brito.
The Filipino fans at the venue chanted “Alyssa! Alyssa” during the match but three-time Premier Volleyball League MVP Carlos and Galanza stepped up in her absence.
The real test awaits the Philippines when it faces reigning silver medalist Vietnam, which swept Singapore, 25-13, 25-8, 25-7, earlier, on Wednesday at 6 p.m.
De Brito, who is coaching in his second SEA Games stint, said his team respects Cambodia despite being a first-timer in the regional women’s volleyball tournament.
“You don’t start from the top. You start slowly. And I think they’re in the right way, using their young guys, playing competitions against the strongest ones. That’s the way. You will not improve if you don’t pass all the stages, level by level,” the Brazilian coach said.
The women’s national team, which is eyeing to end an 18-year medal drought, dominated its opponent from the get-go with Cambodia getting all of its five points from the Philippines’ errors — two each from Paat and Palomata and a miscue from Carlos.
The nationals continued to punish the home team in the second set but the Cambodians scored their first point in the SEA Games women’s volleyball after Horm Ravy nailed an ace to tie the frame at 2-all.
However, Ravy committed a service error that ignited the Filipino Spikers’ 11 straight points capped by Carlos’ two consecutive kills for a 13-2 spread.
Phay Makara drilled Cambodia’s first attack point, winning a joust over Paat in the biennial meet to stop the run before the Philippines scored 11 of the next 12 points capped by De Guzman’s 1-2 play to reach set point, 24-4.
Vi Sineut blocked Nunag to save a point but a service error from Soeu Molika easily gave the two-set advantage to the visitors.
De Brito fielded Michele Gumabao, Kat Tolentino, Chai Troncoso, and setter Gel Cayuna in the third set as the quartet was also instrumental in sealing the lopsided win with their own contributions in the lone frame they played.
Cambodia fell to the brink of elimination, joining Singapore with a 0-1 record.