THE Philippine women’s volleyball team tries to fashion out an upset when it battles powerhouse China in their quarterfinal match at the 18th Asian Games in Indonesia today.
Set for 8 p.m. (Manila time) at the Gelora Bung Karno Tennis Indoor, the Filipinas try to hold their own against the Chinese spikers, the Olympic champions, and book a place in the semifinals of the event in Jakarta.
The Philippines earned a quarterfinal berth after finishing as the fourth best team in Pool A with a 1-3 record, its lone win against Hong Kong in straight sets, 25-18, 25-21 and 25-22, on Aug. 23.
The win was the first time in volleyball for the Philippines in the Asian Games in 36 years.
It then followed it up with a spirited showing against host Indonesia on Aug. 25, where it went all out before bowing in four sets, 25-20, 25-20, 24-26 and 25-22.
Alyssa Valdez led the Philippines against Indonesia with 16 points and 14 excellent receptions, followed by Jaja Santiago with 12, Kim Fajardo seven, Maika Ortiz and Mylene Paat with six apiece.
“I think the team did well against Indonesia as the players showed that they can still elevate their game. We just have to lessen our errors, especially in service. We hope to correct them by our next game,” said national team coach Shaq Delos Santos as he assessed their performance in the last game.
Waiting for the Philippines is China, which has been rock solid in the tournament, topping Pool B in the preliminary round with a 5-0 record and sans dropping a set along the way.
China’s balanced attack is led by Zhu Ting, who is averaging 13.4 points per game.
The winner between China and the Philippines faces off in the semifinals with the victor of the quarterfinal pairing of Japan and Kazakhstan. — Michael Angelo S. Murillo