AVC ASWVC Top 10 Memorable Moments
Letís take a look back at some of the most memorable highlights of the 19th AVC Asian Senior Women's Volleyball Championship.
We know it has been days since the 19th AVC Asian Senior Women's Volleyball Championship wrapped another successful staging, but the thrill and excitement of seeing the continent’s best teams strut their wares on the court still lingera.
Fourteen teams, 47 matches in nine days gave the Filipino fans the international brand of volleyball action.
Let’s take a look back at some of the most memorable highlights of the biennial Asian volleyball stint.
Yes, we all know that they are the best volleyball players in this side of the world.
They are powerful, smart, the finest in their craft. We all know that.
But can we not appreciate these volleybelles with their physical appeal?
PHI win vs. Hong Kong
Everybody was excited when the Philippines began its campaign in Pool A of the opening round.
The Filipinas had some shaky moments in their debut match but with the home crowd cheering them on, the host squad pulled off an impressive straight sets win over Hong Kong, 25-21, 25-16, 25-17.
Although PHI lost to Kazakhstan in their next outing, the win coupled by the Kazakhs’ demolition of Hong Kong gave the Filipinas a quarterfinals slot and most importantly a ticket in the 2018 AVC Asian Women’s Volleyball Cup.
Kim Yeonkoung Invasion
It is rare to have the best teams in Asia come to country to display their volleyball prowess.
But when the AVC Asian Seniors tilt came to our shores, it brought with it one of the continent’s most popular players.
The Korean invasion spilled out from those K-dramas, K-Pop and that oh-so-millennial finger heart to the volleyball court with 6-foot-5 superstar Kim Yeonkoung.
She easily won the hearts of Filipino fans not just with her awesome display of volleyball skills, but also with her endearing charisma.
KYK, the 2012 London Olympics Most Valuable Player, even called the Philippines ‘home’.
And of course who will forget that lucky kid that received a warm hug from KYK.
PHI ‘forced’ South Korea to field KYK
Talking about KYK, the PHI team made South Korea field in its best player.
Locking horns in the opening day of the quarterfinals classification round, the Filipinas gave the Koreans fits in the first set. They forced head coach Sungjin Hong to send in KYK to finish of the Pinays, who saved four set points courtesy of Jovelyn Gonzaga and Aby Marano to give the Koreans a 23-24 scare.
The Koreans fielded KYK again in the second set after PHI went up by three, 12-9. It was enough for the FIVB no. 10 team to start KYK in the third.
KYK before the PHI’s match only played in one set against Vietnam in a relief role and skipped her team’s first two games.
“Nagbibiruan nga kami before the game na kailangan mapalabas natin si KYK ng second set,” Gonzaga shared after the match they lost in three sets.
Mission accomplished girls.
PHI upsets Vietnam
It was the biggest game for the Filipinas.
Experience-, skill- and height-wise the PHI team was a bit at a disadvantage when the Filipinas took on the 2015 Singapore Southeast Asian Games silver medalists Vietnam.
It didn’t help that the PHI went down early in the opening set and stared at a 21-24 deficit.
But it was one of those magical nights that everything seemed to go right for the Pinays.
The PHI overhauled that set deficit with an amazing rally not just once but twice – the other on the second frame – to pull off a morale-boosting upset.
PHI won in four sets 27-25, 26-24, 17-25, 25-23, giving the Filipino faithful something to look forward to in the 29th Kuala Lumpur Southeast Asian Games.
Mark your calendars folks we’re about to see another epic battle on August 25 in PHI-Vietnam’s rematch in the SEA Games.
PHI's gallant stand against Thailand
It has been a long time since the Philippines won against Thailand.
It was in the 1993 Singapore SEA Games when the Pinay spikers prevailed over the Thais in the gold medal match. Since then, Thailand dominated the region and even put its mark in the world stage.
We didn’t win against them in the quarterfinals. The PHI was bludgeoned in straight sets.
But hey, at least the PHI the Thais’ respect as they started their big names against the home team.
PHI almost but not quite vs. Kazakhs in battle for 7th
After consecutive losses since pulling off an upset against Vietnam, the PHI seemed to be heading southward.
It was even disappointing when the Pinays were buried 0-2 in their battle for 7th against Kazakhstan.
But when everybody thought that PHI will just yield its last match in the tournament, the Filipinas showed their fighting heart.
The PHI rallied to tie the match at two sets apiece and gave the taller Kazakhs quite a scare.
But that was PHI’s last hurrah as the Kazakhs pocketed the 7th place finish after a fifth set blowout.
Thailand sweeps Korea; Japan breezes past China
When two of the best Asian teams collide for a championship slot, the match is expected to go down to the wire.
This was not the case when Thailand torched KYK and the South Koreans in straight sets.
Japan also breezed past China, dethroning the Chinese in straight sets to set up a Final rematch against the Thais.
Japan come-from-behind win to claim the throne
Thailand and Japan last crossed paths in the championship round in 2013. The Thais won.
Looking to duplicate that feat, Thailand behind its gunners Ajcharaporn Kongyot and 17-year-old Chatchu-on Moksri dominated the Japanese in the first two sets.
But Japan utilizing its vaunted floor defense and with the scoring efforts of eventual MVP winner Risa Shinnabe and Mami Uchiseto rallied to shock the Thais in one of the most memorable comebacks in tournament history.
Biggest reward for smallest Pinay
And we save the best for last.
Standing just 5-feet, defense specialist Dawn Macandili stood tall together with Asia’s best players after landing the honor of being the tournament 2nd Best Libero.
Ms. Everywhere literally threw her body all over the court – rolling and diving just to save the ball for the PHI to counterattack.
It was a fitting reward for all her efforts and one proud moment for a small nation looking to make a mark in the world of women’s volleyball.
And as added bonus, reserve libero Macandili was tapped to join the main roster of the PHI Team in the SEA Games.