SEA Games: Nabigyan namin sila ng magandang laban -- Marano on Thailand

Mark Escarlote on Dec 06, 2019 12:10 AM
Nabigyan namin sila ng magandang laban -- Marano on Thailand
Start pa lang ng training namin kahapon at saka kanina, inisip na namin na kailangan mabigyan namin ng magandang laban talaga ‘yung Thailand para di naman kami bugbog sarado sa kanila -- Aby Marano (Photo by Arvin Lim)

The Philippines lost yet again at the hands of volleyball powerhouse Thailand.

But the match that was witnessed by 3,700 spectators inside the rocking PhilSports Arena in Pasig City will be remembered because of the gallant stand put up by the Filipinas against their conquerors in the 30th Southeast Asian Games women’s volleyball competition, Thursday.

It will be remembered as the night that the conquered won the hearts of the crowd.  

The Filipinas stayed true to their promise two nights before: that they will give the Thais a memorable game. 

“Masasabi ko na natuwa ako kasi at least nag-dilang anghel ako sa sinabi ko na bigbigyan namin sila ng magandang laban,” said Philippine team skipper Aby Marano. “Start pa lang ng training namin kahapon at saka kanina, inisip na namin na kailangan mabigyan namin ng magandang laban talaga ‘yung Thailand para di naman kami bugbog-sarado sa kanila.”

The gold medal match-bound 11-time defending champion Thailand won the match in straights sets.

But it wasn’t a cakewalk, like what most thought it would be.

Thailand did get a scare before eking out a 25-16, 25-22, 34-32, victory.

The Thais had to pry the win from the hands of the Filipinas, who Thailand has been dominating since knocking the SEA Games crown off the head of the Philippines back in 1995. 

What the Nationals showed in their gallant stand was a huge improvement since their return in the biennial meet in the 2017 Singapore SEA Games after 10 years of absence. 

In the 2017 Asian Seniors Championship held in Binan, Laguna and in the 2017 Kuala Lumpur SEA Games, Thailand waylaid the Nationals both times.

“Since 2015, talagang halos parang hindi kami maka-block, hindi kami makahawak ng bola nila. Minsan mapapa-“ay, andun na yung bola.” Parang pinaglalaruan kami, para kaming ginagawang tanga talaga, parang di kami marunong mag-volleyball, ganun yung feeling,” said Marano. “Parang ginagawa kaming hindi volleyball player nu’ng nagsisimula kami.”

Down, 19-24, in the third, the Filipinas made an epic rally that turned what looked like a blowout sweep into a rare workout for the Thais in this level of competition.

Maddie Madayag, Alyssa Valdez and Jovelyn Gonzaga ignited a 6-0 rally to shock the Thais and spark pandemonium inside the arena as the Philippines went up, 25-24, for set point advantage. Thailand knotted things up on the next play.

The Nationals took four more set point advantages with Valdez hammering a kill for a 32-31 lead.  

But a costly service error by Madayag gave Thailand the window to escape with the win.

The loss relegated the Philippines to the bronze medal match but the experience gave the Filipinas the morale-boost heading into their last two games against Indonesia – on Saturday at the end of the prelims and on Monday on the medal round.  

“’Yung experience pa rin, yung paghihirap na pinagdaanan namin kanina sa game. Nakita nyo naman, one is to one, kung lalayo man yung Thailand, hahabol at hahabol kami. Yung experience na yun, madadala namin sa mga susunod na laro,” Marano said.

“At the same time, yung kumpyansa, kasi kung kinaya naming makipagdikdikan sa Thailand kanina, siguro hindi imposible na kakayanin namin yung susunod na mga laro namin,” she added. “So dadalhin namin lahat ng mga natutunan namin at lahat ng paghihirap na inexert namin kanina, yung efforts, dodoblehin pa namin. Kung hindi dodoblehin, hihigitan pa namin kung ano pa yung kaya naming gawin as a team.”




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