THE Philippines stole one set to Southeast Asian queen Thailand before dropping a 18-25, 25-23, 20-25, 9-25, to miss the semifinals bus of the Asian Volleyball Confederation Cup for Women Saturday night before 5,200 fans at the PhilSports Arena.
Jema Galanza’s set-clinching kill allowed the hosts to level with the Thais in the second set, giving coach Sherwin Meneses’ side a chance to pull off a reversal.
Sensing trouble, Thailand made a major adjustment in the third set by putting in Thanacha Sooksod to join forces with Chatchu-on Moksri and Pimpichaya Kokram and worked wonders to take a 2-1 set advantage and never looked back.
Meneses was not surprised with the Thais’ move.
“Thailand has one system. Whoever enters the match will really contribute. The breaks went their way in the third set. But we are still happy that we gave them a good fight,” Meneses said.
Thailand will face defending champion China in the semifinals of the event hosted by the Philippine National Volleyball Federation at 4 p.m. on Sunday. The Thais last ruled the tournament in 2012.
Moksri led Thailand with 21 points while Kokram added 12 points.
Sooksod was the Thais biggest revelation in the quarterfinals match—tallying six points in the third and fourth set.
The Philippines will now focus on getting the best highest possible finish in the 5th to 8th semifinals bracket as it faces Australia at 1 p.m.
Michele Gumabao had two service aces to finish with 13 points while Tots Carlos added 12 points.
Ced Domingo, connecting well with setter Jia Morado de Guzman in the first two sets, chipped in six markers.
De Guzman praised Thai playmaker Pornpun Guedpard for giving stability for her team.
“She’s a very good setter. She’s in control of her team’s offense and she is so accustomed to the pace of her spikers. She is a good leader inside the court, she’s very vocal. She is one of the seniors of the team and you have to give it to her,” De Guzman said.
A different De Guzman is what Pornpun saw from the one in the 30th Southeast Asian Games in 2019.
“She is getting better,” said Pornpun on De Guzman.