Pinays bow out of semis race, surrender to Thais in 3 sets
Mark Escarlote on Aug 15, 2017 06:56 PM
Kongyot Ajcharaporn of Thailand goes over the block of Philippines' Aiza Maizo-Pontillas.
BINAN CITY, Laguna –-- The Philippines gave Thailand a hard time in the first set.
That proved to be the host team’s last hurrah.
Powerhouse Thailand showed the Philippines and the home crowd that filled the Alonte Sports Arena here that it is still the Southeast Asian volleyball giant, defeating the host team, 25-21, 25-14, 25-20, in the knockout quarterfinals Tuesday night.
The Thais advanced in the semifinals of the 19th AVC Asian Senior Women's Volleyball Championship while relegating the PHI to the classification round for 5th and 8th spot.
Thailand will face South Korea in the Final Four Wednesday. The Filipinas will square off with Chinese-Taipei in the classification round.
Ajcharaporn Kongyot and Chatchu-on Moksri scored 17 points each while Wilavan Apinyapong had 13 for Thailand. Kongyot smashed 15 kills while Apinyapong got 12 spikes as Thailand rained down 46 attack points.
The defending 10-time Southeast Asian Games champion Thailand pounced on the sluggish play of the Filipinas early in the second set, breaking away from a slim 8-7 lead to build an 18-11 cushion. With Alyssa Valdez and Jaja Santiago showing frustration in the second frame, the Thais cruised to a 7-3 closing run for a 2-0 match lead.
PHI head coach Francis Vicente shuffled his lineup to get the right combination in the third, bringing in skipper Mika Reyes and Gen Casugod, who both skipped the squad’s four-set upset against 2015 SEA Games silver medalist Monday, but to no avail as Thailand proved to be too strong for the host team.
The Thais, who were coming off a stint in the 2017 FIVB World Grand Prix, sent in its strongest players to start the match with Pleumjit Thinkaow, Hattaya Bamrungsuk, Wilavan Apinyapong, Chatchu-on Moksri and Tomkom Nootsara, showing respect to a team fresh from an upset.
The Filipinas kept the game close until midway in the opening frame and even held a 17-16 lead only to see the Thais counter with a 5-1 rally for a 22-18 advantage.
Lucky breaks favored the Thais in the succeeding plays as Wilavan sealed the set with a hit.
Jovelyn Gonzaga was the only Pinay player in double figures with 11 points, all from kills while Valdez and Santiago were shackled to nine and six markers, respectively, after combing for 39 points in the PHI's match against Vietnam the night before.
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