MANILA – The Philippine women’s volleyball team tried its best to keep in step with Thailand but still ended up suffering a 16-25, 22-25, 32-34 defeat in the 30th Southeast Asian Games at the Philsports Arena in Pasig City.
The straight set loss on Thursday night kicked the Philippine women’s volleyball team out of contention for the gold medal match. It will instead try to salvage a bronze medal finish against Indonesia on Monday.
After being pounded by Thailand in the opening set, the Philippine team traded punches with the Thais early in the second set for an 8-all score before getting a taste of the lead at 12-9 behind Ilongga Abigail Marano and Mary Joy Baron.
The Thais, however, was not rattled. They tightened their defense to tie the score at 13 all before pulling away for good behind veterans Wilavan Apinyapong and Chatchu-on Moksri.
Thailand dictated the tempo in the third set and was close to wrapping up the match at 24-19 but the Philippine team showed resilience as the trio of Madeleine Madayag, Alyssa Valdez and Jovelyn Gonzaga connived to force a deadlock several times.
The score was knotted for the last time at 32 all before the powerhouse Thailand imposed its dominance with Pimphichaya Kokram surging her team ahead before Wilavan ended it with a powerful hit.
“Kung matatalo ka nakakalungkot, pero ‘yung pakiramdam namin na nakapag-perform kami ng napakaganda, especially ‘yung mga players grabe ‘yung ginawa and then marami kaming napasayang tao, nakakatuwa kasi nakikita namin ‘yung improvement every game,” said Philippines head coach Ceseal delos Santos./PN