KYK, South Korea sweep PHI, Pinay spikers earn respect from Asian giant

KYK, South Korea sweep PHI, Pinay spikers earn respect
Korea needed the help of top hitter kim Yeonkoung to prevail over the host team Philippines.

BINAN CITY, Laguna –-- South Korea needed all the help they can get from its ace spiker Kim Yeonkoung.

For the first time in the 19th AVC Asian Senior Women's Volleyball Championship, KYK played on all of the sets played by the Koreans.

And it took an FIVB no. 79 ranked team to force the no. 10 in the world Koreans to use their main weapon.

The Philippine national women’s volleyball team gave South Korea a scare in Pool E quarterfinals classification round Sunday inside the jam-packed Alonte Sports Arena in Binan, Laguna.

South Korea defeated the gritty Filipinas, 25-23, 25-18, 25-12, to improve its carryover record to 2-0 and get in a good position for the top seed in the knockout crossover quarterfinals starting Tuesday.

Hyojin Yang led the Koreans with 13 points. KYK got 12 markers coming off nine kills and three service aces while Kim Heejin chipped in 11 points, all from attacks for Korea.      

The Pinay spikers, who slid to 0-2 carryover slate, were undaunted facing KYK and the unbeaten Koreans.

They engaged Korea in a tight match and even held a three-point lead in the second set.

But the highlight of the match was when Korea head coach Sungjin Hong fielded KYK with his squad having trouble in closing the opening frame despite holding a 24-19 lead.     

Jovelyn Gonzaga and Aby Marano scored four straight points. After Marano’s service ace pushed the PHI at 23-24, Hong sent in KYK, who immediately made an impact and iced the frame with a sharp kill.

Boosted with their great performance in the opening set, the Pinays raced to a 12-9 lead but KYK rallied her team back to silence the home team and the home crowd.

KYK started in the third set, her first in the tournament, and led the Koreans to finish off the Pinays, which Korea beat in straight sets, 8-25, 7-25, 8-25, two years ago in the Tianjin, China edition of the tournament.

The 2015 runner-up Korea will face Kazakhstan on Monday. The PHI squares off with Vietnam, which the Pinays will take on in the 29th Southeast Asian Games in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia next week.

The Pool E classification round will determine the placings of the teams in the knockout crossover quarterfinals against the teams in Pool F composed of Japan, Thailand, defending champion China and Chinese-Taipei. Action in quartefinals begins Tuesday.        

Six-foot-5 Jaja Santiago stood tall for the Pinays with 10 points, all from kills, while Alyssa Valdez and Jovelyn Gonzaga had seven each. Maika Ortiz got five while skipper Milka Reyes and Abigail Marano scored four apiece. 

Kim Fajardo had 26 excellents sets for PHI.                        

The Filipinas may have lost the battle but they made an Asian volleyball giant jolt.



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