MANILA – The national men’s volleyball team salvaged a third place finish in the 2019 Thailand Open Sealect Tuna Championships after a 22-25, 27-29, 25-18, 25-18, 26-24 win over Thai-Denmark Saraburi at the Wee Sommay Gym in Sisakaet.
Marck Espejo ignited the Philippines squad’s offense with 35 points built on 27 attacks, five blocks, and three aces.
Bryan Bagunas added 22 points, 21 of which came from attacks.
Ranran Abdilla also made his presence felt offensively for the Philippine team with 17 points while Kim Malabunga came up with clutch hits in the fifth set to finish with 15 points.
Trailing by two sets, the National Team rallied behind Bagunas and led by as much as seven points to take the third set.
Espejo took over the scoring in the fourth frame to force a decider.
The national squad trailed early in the fifth set but the Philippines leaned on Espejo and Bagunas to tie the score at 12-all. Malabunga then scored a hit to force another tie at 13-all.
It was a seesaw battle since then but the Nationals’ strong desire to win paid off. They were able to eke out a narrow 26-24 victory to settle for a bronze medal finish in the six-team meet.
The national men’s volleyball team used the weeklong volleyball tournament as part of their preparation for the upcoming 2019 Southeast Asian Games to be held in the country./PN