PHL Gals impress in Asian Spikefest

THE Philippines is bound to book its best finish in the Asian Volleyball Confederation Cup for Women. NONIE REYES

THE Philippines seesawed to a five-set win over Australia, 21-25, 25-19, 19-25, 25-18, 15-12, on Sunday to find itself on the verge of booking a best-ever finish of fifth place in the Asian Volleyball Confederation (AVC) Cup for Women.

With the PhilSports Arena less than half full owing to the 1 p.m. match schedule, the nationals played through exhaustion from a four-set loss to regional rival the night before and foiled the Australians’ bid of a better finish in the classification phase.

“Like what we always say every game, we’re just really happy to be here representing our flag and country,” opposite spiker Tots Carlos said. “Thank you to all the fans who come here and cheered for us.”

Carlos produced 26 points, including the match-clinching kill that closed out the intense two-hour and 31-minute contest that gave the national women’s team the victory in the event hosted by the Philippine National Volleyball Federation.

Looking fatigued after losing to Thailand, 18-25, 25-23, 20-25, 9-25, in the quarterfinals in the last match on Saturday, the Philippines still showed steely resolve to prevail despite trailing 1-2 in sets.

“We have nothing to lose,” coach Sherwin Meneses said. “They have gone through these kind of situations before so they have experience. I just told them to simply just enjoy the game and then limit their basic errors.”

The Philippines takes on Chinese-Taipei in the battle for fifth and sixth places on Monday. The Taiwanese pulled off a 25-23, 25-19, 25-17 victory over Iran earlier Sunday.

A sixth place finish would overshadow the country’s ninth place performance in its debut in the 2018 edition of the continental championship in Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand.

Jema Galanza again played big for the nationals with 18 points, while Ced Domingo had three blocks for a 18-point effort for the national women’s team.

“It was a lot of teamwork,” setter Jia de Guzman said. “Everyone came together. Everyone did their roles. We really wanted it more this game.”

The Philippines didn’t receive well enough in the opening set and allowed Australia to nail six aces and claim the upper hand.

The Filipinas leveled in the second set but again fell in the third set as the Volleyroos, with Caitlyn Tipping scattering for nine points, raced to a 14-3 advantage and weathered their foes late comeback.

Then Galanza, Carlos and Domingo joined forces in the fourth set to extend the match.

Tipping finished with 25 points, including six blocks and five service aces, while Stef Weiler and Rebecca Redgen chipped in 17 and 12 points, respectively, for Australia. The Volleyroos will play the Iranians in the battle for seventh and eighth places at 10 a.m.

Huang Ching-Hsuan had 14 points, including two blocks, while Kan Ko-Hui and Chen Tzu-Ya each scored 10 points for the Taiwanese.


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