AUSTRALIA, PHILIPPINES AND THAILAND CRUISE TO STRAIGHT-SET WINS ON DAY 1 OF “PRINCESS CUP” WOMEN’S U18 SOUTHEAST ASIAN CHAMPIONSHIP

AUSTRALIA, PHILIPPINES AND THAILAND CRUISE TO STRAIGHT-SET WINS ON DAY 1 OF “PRINCESS CUP” WOMEN’S U18 SOUTHEAST ASIAN CHAMPIONSHIP

Nakhon Pathom, Thailand, June 8, 2024 – Straight-set sweeps highlighted the opening day of the 22nd “Princess Cup” Women’s U18 Volleyball Championship at the Nakhon Pathom Gymnasium here on Saturday, with Philippines demolishing Singapore in a completely lopsided affair.

The championship is being held from June 8 to 13 and serves as a springboard for teams to gain experience and exposure and improve the team tune-up before facing tougher task at the 15th Asian Women’s U18 Championship at the same venue here between June 16 and 23.

The first encounter between Philippines and Singapore saw the former perform much better to lead from start to finish, thanks to the combination attacks from middle blocker Lianne Penuliar and outside hitter Kimberly Chelmei Rubin. Philippines took the comfortable first set 25-14.

Singapore held their nerves and hit back in the second set, but still found the going get tough. Taking a commanding lead with a 11-point clear at 17-6, Philippines continued their winning way to score eight points in a row to easily wrap up the set 25-6, with opposite Julia Adrao delivering an off-speed shot to win the team’s last point.

The third set was still dominated by Philippines. Leveling at 2-2, the Filipinas flexed their muscles to win five points on the trot and never looked back from then on. Akeyla Bartolabac produced an ace serve in the last point for the Philippines’ 25-12 win in the set and match.

Kimberly Chelmei Rubin chipped in with 16 points from 11 attacks, one block and four aces for Philippines. No Singaporean player reached double digits in scoring against the rivals, with Chia Yu-En Elizabeth scoring 5 points on the team’s loss.

In the second match, Australia proved a cut above Malaysia to claim the first two sets without much effort 25-12, 25-18, utilizing their better offensive mobility from outside spiker Matisse Conlon and middle blockers Chelsea Cocks and Anni Tang.

Conceding two straight sets, Malaysia pulled their game together and bounced back in the third set, with skipper Ee Ling hitting some good shots. However, the rhythm remained with the Australian girls as outside hitter Rosie Alchin penetrated the Malaysian defence with her attacks. Australia captured the set 25-21 and match.

The last match of the day saw outside hitter Supawadee Panwilai score a match-high 17 points to help hosts Thailand get the campaign off to a good start with convincing straight-set win 25-19, 25-16, 25-23 against Indonesia.

As opposite Sasikan Kanoiu and Supawadee orchestrated the offensive system, Nattharika Wasan, 182cm, and the 185cm-tall Supawadee combined well for impeccable defence. Indonesia fought back hard but their intention did not bear fruits. The Thai girls went on relentless attacks to take the first two set 25-19 and 25-16.

In the third set, the Indonesians intensified their defence and carried out aces to lead 8-5 and stretched it with a four-point lead at 11-7. However, Thailand countered aggressively with powerful attacks from Supawadee and Nattharika to catch up with Indonesia at 12-12. Both side still performed well to fight neck and neck to level it at 14-14 and again 20-20. However, the Thai girls, backed by the cheering home fans at the venue, played better at home stretch to win the hard-fought set 25-23 and match.

Thailand had four players who reached double digits in this match. Supawadee Panwilai delivered 17 points from 12 attacks, 3 blocks and 2 aces, while Sasikan Kanoiu, Nattharika Wasan and Atitaya Kaewnok kept good company to contribute 11, 10, 10 points respectively. Opposite Azzahra Dwi Febyane led Indonesia with 9 points including 8 attacks from 26 attempts. 

The single round-robin championship continued on Sunday, with Philippines taking on Malaysia, Indonesia challenging Singapore and Thailand facing off against Australia.

RESULTS AND RANKING

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