DESPITE back-to-back, straight-set losses to Vietnam and Thailand the Philippine Ladies Volleyball team will improve its 2015 Southeast Asia Games finish.
In 2015 the Philippines placed fifth behind champion Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia and Singapore. The Philippine squad takes the floor against Vietnam today for the bronze medal and will place higher than fifth even if they lose their match.
The Philippines dropped a 24-26, 12-25, 23-25 decision to Vietnam to complete its elimination round schedule which meant the team had to face perennial ladies volleyball champion Thailand in the semifinals.
The Thai ladies volleyball team is like the Philippine men’s basketball team in SEA Games competition. They are looking for their 13th straight gold medal, after placing second to Japan in the 2017 AVC Asian Senior Women’s Championship.
Alyssa Valdez and Jaja Santiago powered the Filipinas to an early six-point, 8-2, lead in the third set. But the Vietnamese were quick to regain their composure and climbed all the way back to post the hard-earned third set victory.
Tran Thi Thanh Thuy led Vietnam with 19 points. Middle blocker Nguyen Thi Ngoc Hoa added 11 markers.
The Philippine squad had competent attackers in middle blocker Santiago, outside hitter Valdez and opposite hitter Jovelyn Gonzaga. But they seemed to have forgotten the basics as they yielded 28 ball-handling errors.
Yesterday, the Philippines then endured a 21-25, 17-25, 17-25 shellacking from Thailand in the semifinals at the Malaysia International Trade and Exhibition Centre Hall 11.
The Pinay spikers teased their fans and managed to keep the game close in the first set before yielding 21-25. But that was as close as they got as powerhouse Thailand then imposed its might with quick attacks and deceptive serves. By the third set the Thais put in their second stringers which continued their beatdown of the Filipinas.
Thailand thus moved to the gold-medal game in the tournament as heavy favorites.