Kazakhs push PH spikers down to battle for 7th

The Philippine women's volleyball team absorbs a five-set heartbreaker against Kazakhstan in the 2018 Asian Games classification round

Beatrice Go

9:37:27am August 31, 2018

3:54:41pm August 31, 2018

HIT. Mylene Paat tries to get one past the Kazakh's defensive wall. Photo by Adrian Portugal/Rappler

HIT. Mylene Paat tries to get one past the Kazakh's defensive wall. Photo by Adrian Portugal/Rappler

JAKARTA, Indonesia – The Philippine women’s volleyball team surrendered its fifth-place hopes to Kazakhstan after absorbing a five-set heartbreaker, 25-11, 22-25, 25-15, 19-25, 16-14, in the 2018 Asian Games on Friday, August 31.

Jaja Santiago paced the Nationals with 19 points in the classification-round match against the Kazakhs. 

Alyssa Valdez added 13 points while covering the floor with 18 excellent digs and 24 excellent receptions. Jia Morado led the Philippine team’s playmaking with 26 excellent sets.

One thing na iba [sa amin] going into today’s game, we really wanted to win. Siguro sa first set medyo hindi siya visible, or hindi natin nakita, but definitely noong nabigyan na tayo ng opportunity to fight in the last set, binigay naman talaga ’yung lahat,” said Valdez.

(One thing that’s different going into today’s game is that we really wanted to win. Maybe you couldn't see it, but definitely we gave our all when we were given the chance to fight in the last set.)

The loss relegated the Philippines to a battle for seventh place against Indonesia at 10 am (11am, Manila time) on Saturday, September 1.

Kazakhstan previously drubbed the Nationals in the 2017 Asian Senior Volleyball Championship.

“Too bad, breaks didn’t go our way,” national team coach Shaq delos Santos said. “But it’s okay. Our purpose here is to gain experience and compete against the best teams in Asia. The fact that we managed to drag Kazakhstan to five sets is a good sign of our progress.”

After getting blown away in the opening set, Morado and Mylene Paat made immediate impact off the bench in the second set. Paat led the scoring with 5 points while Morado made 11 excellent sets in the second set alone.

However, the Filipinas failed to sustain the momentum in the 3rd set due to a spate of errors. The team, though, found its rhythm again in the next set as the Nationals pulled away to a 9-point lead, 14-6.

The Philippines denied the Kazakhs’ comeback bid as Valdez’s attack extended the match to a deciding set, where the Pinay spikers put up another gallant fight and kept it close all throughout.

Although the Nationals took control early in the 5th set, the Kazakhs rallied back to level the score at 9-all. But the Filipinas failed to hold down the Central Asians, who ended the game after the second match point.

The Filipina spikers hope to close out their campaign with an upset win over host Indonesia, which dealt them a four-set drubbing in the preliminary round. – Rappler.com