Ito yung pusong Pilipino -- Valdez on win against Vietnam

Mark Escarlote on Aug 15, 2017 09:26 AM
Ito yung pusong Pilipino -- Valdez on win against Vietnam
Ito ‘yung pusong Pilipino na hanggang ‘di natatapos ang laban lumalaban talaga -- Alyssa Valdez

BINAN CITY, Laguna –-- In an act of defiance in the opening set with the Philippines trying to save a second set point, libero Dawn Macandili sacrificed her body to dive for a dig almost colliding with Alyssa Valdez on the floor.

Aiza Maizo-Pontillas, the oldest member of the team, tried to pound the defense of Vietnam but her attack bounced off the visiting squad’s double block. The Vietnamese countered only to get their missile fall straight into the hands of setter Kim Fajardo.  

Macandili scooped the ball to Alyssa Valdez on the left corner and the ace Pinay hitter sent a lightning to the back row that Vietnam failed to control.

For the second time in the first set, the PHI forced a deuce.

Vietnam’s main weapon Thuy Tran Thi Thanh, frustrated by the gritty Filipinas’ comeback from four set point deficits, put too much power on her attack that sailed long, surrendering the lead to the home team.

Valdez on the service line iced the frame with a sharp serve that went off the hands of Vietnam’s Thuy Dinh Thi.

The Philippines, who for a decade fell from volleyball prominence in Southeast Asia, just scored a set win against a regional giant.

The Filipinas did it again in the second set, saving four set points before Valdez scored on back-to-back aces to steal the frame and stun the Vietnamese.

It was the start of the PHI biggest win so far in the 19th AVC Asian Senior Women's Volleyball Championship.

A collective effort that resulted in a 27-25, 26-24, 17-25, 25-23, shocker over Vietnam Monday night in Pool E quarterfinals classification round at the rocking Alonte Sports Arena here.  

“Ito ‘yung pusong Pilipino na hanggang ‘di natatapos ang laban lumalaban talaga,” said Valdez, who capped her night with a personal-tournament best of 20 points anchored on 16 kills including the final hammer that sealed the win for the Filipinas.

The victory was extra special for Valdez as it ended a two-year wait for a payback against the same opponents that dealt her and the national squad a 16-25, 21-25, 23-25, loss in the group stage of the 2015 Singapore Southeast Asian Games.

The PHI was just making its return in the biennial meet then after 10 years of absence.

“Ang gusto lang talaga namin in today's game is to really show Vietnam that we've improved on everything,” said Valdez.

And they showed it against the 2015 SEA Games silver medalist.


Para sa bayan

Towering 6-foot-5 Jaja Santiago said that the squad drew inspiration from the Filipino crowd and supporters that flocked the venue and to the thousands more glued on their TV sets.

Coming off a two-game skid after starting the tournament with a win against Hong Kong, the victory came as a relief for the team.

“Masaya kami na parang for the first time parang nanalo ulit ‘yung Pilipinas against Vietnam,” said Santiago, who scored 19 points.

“’Yun nga sabi ko nga siguro kaya ganun ‘yung kinalabasan ng laro namin kasi na-inspire kami doon sa mga nasa loob ng court and talagang binubuhos namin lahat para sa bayan at para sa lahat ng taong naniniwala samin,” she added.

The win against Vietnam gave the Pinays the confidence heading into the SEA Games next week where they are bracketed with their victim and host Malaysia in the group stage.


Collective effort

Valdez and Santiago did most of the damage in attacks, hitting 16 each, middles Aby Marano and Maika Ortiz chipped in with solid net defense, playmaker Kim Fajardo was sharp as ever distributing the ball for a fluid offensive flow while Macandili’s floor defense – 19 digs and 12 excellent receptions - proved to be the catalyst of the PHI’s offensive transition.

The other five players that head coach Francis Vicente fielded also did their part. 

“Kanina, lahat ng pinasok kung titignan mo mata sa mata, makikita mo 'yung drive manalo,” said Marano, who got 11 points with three coming off kill blocks. “Makikita mo sa itsura pa lang nila na gusto nila bumawi para sayo. Lahat ng ginagawa namin para sa kasama namin kasi may malasakit kami. Nakita niyo 'yung collective effort ng bawat isa.”

Ortiz, who was a also member of the national team that fell prey to Vietnam two years ago, had eight points and played her part well at the net with three kill blocks.

“Sabi ko kung hindi man ako maka-contribute ng spike ko, ng service ko, sana maka-contribute man lang aka sa blockings ko ngayon,” said the former University of Sto. Tomas standout.

Vicente praised his wards for their performance, reaping the fruit of their 17-day training in Japan.

“We just did our part as coaches, they did their part as players,” said Vicente. “They played inspired. Siguro nagbunga lahat na sinasabi naming mga coaches at nagtulong-tulong kami para mapabuti lahat ng sitwasyon.”

“’Yun ‘yung sinasabing ibang klaseng puso ‘yun ‘yung gusto talagang manalo,” he added. “’Yun ‘yung maganda.”

The PHI closed the round with a 1-2 carryover record and occupied the no. 3 seed in Pool E to take on Pool F’s no. 2 squad and defending SEA Games champion Thailand in the knockout crossover quarterfinals Tuesday.



Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles 

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