AVC Challenge Cup: Philippines’ semis bid ends with loss to Australia
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine women’s volleyball team’s semifinal hopes got shattered by the also-ran Australia with an 18-25, 22-25, 25-21, 20-25 loss in the 2023 Asian Volleyball Confederation (AVC) Challenge Cup for Women on Friday at Tri Dharma Petrokimia Gresik Gymnasium in East Java, Indonesia.
The Filipino Spikers couldn’t make their first semifinal appearance in the Challenge Cup and are now relegated to the classification round as they failed to beat the Australians.
The Philippines finished the quarterfinal round with a 1-2 record in Pool E and will no longer make it to the Final Four, even if India (1-1) loses to Indonesia (2-0) in their ongoing match.
The Filipinos only had two points from their five-set win over the Indians, who already tallied four points even though their final Pool E game is not yet done.
Faith Nisperos led the way for the national team with 16 points. Shaya Adorador also sustained her fine play but Aiza Maizo-Pontillas, who erupted for 27 points against India two days ago, struggled in the match.
Eli Soyud provided the spark from the bench of coach Jorge Souza de Brito but it wasn’t enough to stop the pair of Emma Burton and Ella Schabort.
Australia leaned on Burton’s 28-point explosion, as Schabort also stepped up with 16 points.
After dropping the first two sets, the national team refused to be swept and got its act together in the third with Nisperos and Adorador leading the way. The Philippines pulled away with a 20-14 lead off Ezra Madrigal’s running attack before Adorador’s ace and Australia’s error put them at set point, 24-17. The Aussies saved four points before a costly service error that allowed a fourth set.
Nisperos and Adorador tried to force a decider, tying the fourth at 16-all but Burton scored three straight points down the stretch including back-to-back blocks to take a 21-17 lead before Adorador stopped the bleeding. Schabort drilled back-to-back points capped by an ace followed by a crosscourt kill by Burton to reach match point, 24-18.
Soyud and Nisperos saved two match points but 16 went for the kill to upset the Philippines.
The nationals will face Iran on Saturday in the classification round for 5th to 8th places.
Australia got the third seed in Pool E and will take on Uzbekistan in the classification round.