Nahirapan din sila sa atin -- Vicente on PHI's stand vs KAZ
I’m proud of them, (sabi ko sa kanila) kapag lumabas kayo dito (sa venue) taas noo -- PHI head coach Francis Vicente
BINAN CITY, Laguna –-- Philippine national women’s volleyball team head coach Francis Vicente flashed a wide smile as he went out of the dugout inside the Alonte Sports Arena here.
Despite the home squad’s 23-25, 20-25, 19-25, defeat at the hands of the taller and more powerful Kazakhstan side in Pool A of the 19th SMM Asian Senior Women’s Volleyball Championship, Vicente admired the gallant stand of his wards.
“Hirap din sila. Napapagod din sila sa ginagawa natin eh,” said Vicente of the PHI’s stand against the might of the Kazakhs.
The mentor was most proud of his team’s good communication inside and cohesiveness inside the court, not backing down against a very experienced squad.
“‘Yung laro nila with heart at saka ang communication nila andoon at saka makikita mong parang magkasundung-magkasundo sila sa loob eh, parang wala kang kabig-itapon,” he said.
“I’m proud of them, (sabi ko sa kanila) kapag lumabas kayo dito (sa venue) taas noo.”
And the squad did.
“Morale-boosting pa rin ‘yan, nakita niyo naman ang score hindi malayo, he said. “So maaaring magtagpo pa rin kami sa bandang huli, maaring talunin pa namin.”
The Filipinas led by Alyssa Valdez and 6-foot-5 Jaja Santiago, who finished with 14 and 13 points, respectively, started out firing on all cylinders and even pushed the home team up, 12-8.
But the Kazakhs kept their composure to slowly chop down their deficit and eventually overtook the Filipinas.
Kazakhstan found the PHI a hard nut to crack in the next two sets but still escaped with the win using their height advantage and solid defense at the net.
“Talagang ganoon, sometimes you lose, sometimes you win,” said Vicente, whose team swept Hong Kong last Wednesday to secure a quarterfinals spot and book a ticket to the 2018 AVC Asian Women’s Volleyball Cup.
“A champion player always accepts losing and then study, san ba tayo nagkulang?” he added. “Kahit kaming coaches we will study, saan ba kami nagkulang?”
The Pinays are assured at least an eighth place finish, surpassing the 12th place ranking of the country in the last two editions of the tournament.
“Masaya na ako (nan a-surpass namin yung last year’s finish na 12th).
Philippines and Kazakhstan will face Korea and Vietnam in Pool E quarterfinals classification round starting Sunday. Kazakhstan will take on Vietnam while PHI squares off with South Korea at 5:30 p.m. in a match that will air live on ABS-CBN S+A Channel 23 and ABS-CBN S+A HD Channel 166.
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