By KRISTEL SATUMBAGA
Games Today (Alonte Sports Arena, Biñan, Laguna)
10 a.m. – China vs Chinese Taipei
2:30 p.m. – Kazakhstan vs Korea
3 p.m. – Japan vs Thailand
5:30 p.m. – Philippines vs Vietnam
BIÑAN, Laguna – The Philippines put up a gallant stand against South Korea before absorbing a 25-23, 25-18, 25-12 loss yesterday in the classification round of the 19th Asian Senior Women’s Volleyball Championship at the Alonte Sports Arena here.
The Nationals displayed their solid defense against the power-hitting Koreans, runners-up two years ago in Tianjin, China, but it was enough to post a giant-sized upset and succumb to a straight-set defeat in this round to determine the quarterfinal pairings.
Led by Jovelyn Gonzaga and Aby Maraño, the Filipinos impressed the crowd that filled this venue to the rafters with sharp kills and service aces that cut Korea’s lead from 24-19 to 24-23 in the opening set.
Sensing danger, top player Kim Yeong-koung subbed for the first time to give Korea the first set.
The Nationals also led 10-7 in the second frame, but the Koreans held their composure until the third frame.
With world-class Kim starting for the first time in the third set, Korea dominated the frame by leading as many as 18-9 to dictate the tempo.
Overall, the Filipinos struggled with their serves and had difficulty with their first ball that proved crucial in the match. They finished with 18 errors.
PH team coach Francis Vicente still lauded his players’ efforts despite the loss.
“Basta proud ako sa kanila kasi nakikita ko yung mentality nila na lumalaban. Yun lang, medyo kinakapos talaga sa bandang huli,” said Vicente.
Jaja Santiago was the lone double-digit scorer with 10 points, all from attacks, while Valdez also fired all her seven points in kills. Gonzaga also finished with seven points.
Yang Hyojin topscored for Korea with 13 points, while Yeong-koung and Kim Heejin added 12 and 11 points.
The PH slipped to 0-2 in the carryover phase in Pool E, while South Korea improved to 2-0 along with Kazakhstan at the helm.
The Nationals face Vietnam today at 5:30 p.m.
Earlier, Thailand stunned defending champion China, 25-22, 22-25, 25-16, 23-25, 15-12, in Pool F.
Hattaya Bamrungsuk led the Thais with 19 points, while Ajcharaporn Kongyot and Chatchu-on Moksri chipped in 19 points against the Chinese, composed mostly of Team B players.
Japan also showed strength with a quick 25-19, 25-16, 25-20 victory over Chinese Taipei.