PH women’s volleyball team falls to Thais, relegated to bronze medal match in SEA Games
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine women’s volleyball team failed to sustain its strong start in the first set and fell to defending champion Thailand, 22-25, 9-25, 12-25, in the 32nd Southeast Asian Games on Saturday at Indoor Olympic Stadium in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
The Filipino spikers pulled off a surprise against the powerhouse Thais to start the game as first-time campaigner Tots Carlos scored most of her points in the first set to lead her team’s valiant effort. She drilled back-to-back attacks to tie the set at 22.
However, Pimpichaya Kokram came to the rescue with two consecutive kills to put the Thais at set point, 24-22, before Jia De Guzman’s costly misset, which easily handed the opening frame to the reigning champions.
The Thais, who won 13 consecutive gold medals in the SEA Games, dominated the Filipino Spikers in the last two sets as Kokram, Ajcharaporn Kongyot, and Chatchu-on Moksri led their team to its 17th straight Finals, facing Vietnam for the third consecutive time in the championship match on Sunday.
Thailand has yet to lose a game in four matches including a three-game sweep of Group A as it eyes its 14th straight crown and 16th overall gold. Vietnam also earned its fourth consecutive win after pulling off a come-from-behind 21-25, 25-15, 16-25, 25-12, 15-12 victory over Indonesia in a thrilling semifinal game.
The loss relegated the Philippines to the bronze medal match, facing Indonesia on Sunday at 6 p.m. (Manila time).
The nationals are facing the Indonesians in the bronze match for the third straight time, seeking to end an 18-year podium drought.
Kokram sustained her fine play in the second set, as Ajcharaporn Kongyot took charge for a 16-3 start in the frame and never looked back with Thatdao Nuekjang sealing their 2-0 lead with back-to-back aces.
The trio of Kokram, Kongyot, and Moksri remained unstoppable in the third set to close out the game.
Carlos led the way for the national team. Mylene Paat and middle blockers Cherry Nunag and Celine Domingo also stepped up during their gallant stand in the first set, where they held a 17-14 lead before the Thais scored six of the next seven points to take the lead and displayed grace under pressure to end the frame.
Team Captain Alyssa Valdez, who returned to action from a right knee injury and nailed the game-winning attack in their straight-set win over Singapore, was benched in the semifinal for the first time in her three Final Four appearances out of her five SEA Games stints.