ASIAN GAMES: Pinay spikers take on Kazakhs

ABS-CBN Sports on Aug 30, 2018 03:45 PM
ASIAN GAMES: Pinay spikers take on Kazakhs
The Philippine national women's volleyball team meets familiar rival Kazakhstan in classification phase.

JAKARTA --- After getting clobbered by Olympic champion China on Wednesday night, the Philippine women’s volleyball team shoots for some measure of respect when they battle Kazakhstan in the battle for fifth to eight places.

The consolation round match between the Filipinas and Kazakhs is set at 2:30 p.m. (3:30 p.m. in Manila) on Friday.

The Chinese shoved the Filipinas to the exit with a methodically easy 25-15, 25-9, 25-7 victory in the quarterfinals, the same night the Kazakhs fell to the Japanese, 25-16, 25-18, 25-21.

If the Philippine volleybelles beat the Kazakhs, they get a chance to finish fifth if they topple the winner of the other consolation round match between host Indonesia and Vietnam also set on Friday.

The Filipinas fell to the Kazakhs twice in last year's AVC Asian Senior Women's Volleyball Championship, losing in straight sets in pool play before a sorry five-set defeat in the classification match for 7th place.

China surged to the semifinals against Japan. Reigning champion South Korea tangles with Southeast Asian champion Thailand in the other semifinal pairing.

If the Filipinas lose, the best they could attain for is a seventh-place finish—but that they have to earn by beating the loser of the Vietnam-Indonesia tussle.

Zhu Ting, arguably the best and highest-paid player of this generation, delivered only five points in a very limited time on the floor, but just the same, the Chinese were still too strong and too dominant for the Filipinos to overcome.

So strong that China ended the match in less than an hour with 6-foot-6 Jaja Santiago serving as the lone bright spot with 12 kills, three blocks and an ace for the Philippine side that is looking to gain experience for the 30th Southeast Asian Games next year.

Philippine head coach Shaq Delos Santos admitted that they were awed with how China played them.

“All I can say is that they played one heck of a match,” said Delos Santos, who obviously had a tough time matching the strategy of his counterpart, China’s legendary coach Jenny Lang Ping.

“They are very tall with a combination of speed, skills and talent. They are very smart on the court. It’s really an honor being on the opposite floor with them.”

Delos Santos reiterated that their aim is not to win the gold, but to gain experience they would need for the SEA Games the country is hosting next year.

The Philippine campaign in the Games included losses to Japan, Thailand and Indonesia—which went to four sets—and a lone win over lowly Hongkong.

“For us, this is truly a great experience. I hope this inspires the team,” de los Santos said. “As I’ve told them, we don’t need to feel down. Instead, we have to be inspired because we’re learning whenever we play against these giants regardless of the results.”

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