Photo credit: Mr. Roun Celda and Mr. Arvin Lim
Manila, Philippines, December 10, 2019 – Dominant Indonesia pulled off an emphatic 3-0 (25-21 27-25 25-17) victory over hosts Philippines in the 30th Southeast Asian Games men’s volleyball showdown to reclaim the title they last had won 10 years ago at the 2009 edition in Vientiane, Laos.
Following the scintillating win, Indonesia stretched their supremacy in the biennial multi-sport extravaganza to 10 times. They first captured the SEA Games title in 1981 in Philippines and went on their blistering run of winning 4 titles from 1987 to 1993. They lost their SEA Games crown in 1995 and reclaimed the title in 1997. The remaining four came in 2003, 2007, 2009 and 2019.
Over 6,000 home fans thronged the Philsports Arena in Pasig City to cheer for their team and boost their morale in a highly-anticipated final clash against the strong visitors.
Indonesia badly needed to snap the country’s decade-long gold-medal drought. They became the only team in the 30th edition of the SEA Games to remain unbeaten. Moreover, the final showdown could prove a preliminary Pool B rematch, which was won 3-1 by Indonesia. As a result, Indonesia felt a bit relieve to play the team they had already beaten.
Hosts Philippines also set their sights firmly on winning their historic SEA Games title as they have never won Games gold medal since they first took part in the debut SEA Games volleyball competition in 1977 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia which had stood for 42 years.
To make themselves well-prepared for the SEA Games at home, the Philippines underwent a 16-day intensive training in Tokyo, Japan and played 12 tuneup matches there.
The host side got their SEA Games campaign off to a brilliant start with 3-0 win against Cambodia in Pool B and made it two in a row following a stunning 3-0 win against Vietnam, bronze medallists at the previous edition in Kuala Lumpur two years ago.
However, Philippines won all hearts of the whole country when they overpowered perennial champions Thailand in the Sunday’s semi-finals. The hard-fought win had also secured them the top two spots in the Games, the second time in history since they picked up silver in the inaugural Games competition in 1977.
Against regional powerhouses Indonesia, which caused a major sensation at the 2017 Asian Senior Men’s Championship on home soil in Gresik to become the first Asean team in history to finish top four in the Asian meet, Philippines fielded the formidable lineup including talented Bryan Bagunas, whose brilliant individual display guided a classy Philippines to 3-2 victory over Thailand.
Exploiting greater experience and form, Indonesia struggled to take the first two sets 25-21 27-25, but Doni Haryono and Rivan Nurmulki put their team back on track in the third set. Despite a scare from the host side, Indonesia moved on with their confidence and consistent play to capture the third set 25-17, match and the SEA Games gold medal.
Doni Haryono scored a match-high 20 points for Indonesia, all of them from his spectacular attacks, while Mark Espejo led hosts Philippines with 15 points from 14 attacks and one ace.
In the third-place playoff earlier, Thailand, defending and consecutive four-time SEA Games champions, outclassed Myanmar, the team they had already beaten in the pool plays, in thrilling straight sets 25-23 25-16 25-20 to return with bronze medal.
Kissada Nilsawai topscored with 16 points for Thailand including 12 attacks from 17 attempts, while Ya Htike Wai led Myanmar with 18 points .
Vietnam captured the fifth place after powering past Cambodia in hard-fought three-setter 25-15 25-20 25-22. Cambodia came in 6th place overall, with Singapore ending their SEA Games campaign earlier with the 7th place.
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