Filipina AVC spikers advance despite loss

BY ADRIAN STEWART CO

BIÑAN, Laguna – Their loss to Kazakhstan did not stop the Filipina spikers’ trip to the quarterfinals of the 19th AVC Asian Senior Women’s Volleyball Championship.
Aside from barging into the round-of-eight, where it will face the unbeaten South Korea, the Philippine squad also earned a ticket to the AVC Asian Women’s Volleyball Cup next year.
At the Alonte Sports Arena on Friday night, Aug. 11, Kazakhstan swept the Philippines 25-23, 25-20, 25-19.
The Filipinas looked poised for an upset in the first set after tallying a 16-11 lead but Kazakhstan quickly bounced back to tie the match at 23 before Katerina Tatko scored 2 more points to complete the turnaround.
Trailing 4-8 early in Set 2, the Philippines made a run behind Alyssa Valdez and Kim Fajardo to snatch the lead 18-17, then Kazakhstan countered with a 5-2 closing run courtesy of Tatko to build a 2-0 set lead.
Both teams exchanged points early in the third set before Kazakhstan pulled off a 17-10 advantage. The Philippines tried to counter with a rally but Tatko powered Kazakhstan to a huge finishing run for a straight-set win.
“We showed great heart and determination,” said the Philippines head coach Francis Vicente. “There were several errors na we could have prevented pero kumapit naman tayo. Experience lang nila ang nagpanalo.”
Tatko led the way with 20 points, on 14 attacks and four service aces, while Yekaterina Zhdanova added 11 markers for Kazakshtan, which finished its group matches with a 2-0 win-loss record.
Valdez finished with 14 points while Jaja Santiago added 13 markers for the Philippines, which is using the tournament to prepare for the Southeast Asian Games in Malaysia later this month./PN