Nakhon Pathom, Thailand, June 11, 2024 – As Thailand look set to secure top spot at the 22nd “Princess Cup” Women’s U18 Southeast Asian Volleyball Championship, the focus now turns to the Philippines-Indonesia confrontation on Wednesday to determine the second place and a berth in the final showdown against the host side.

Thailand stayed atop the 6-team pool with 12 points from four wins without  dropping a set to their respective rivals. With their unbeaten streak, Thailand are likely to stamp their authority over the tournament although they still have one match remaining against Malaysia on Wednesday.

At conclusion of the single round robin on Wednesday, teams finishing top two teams will battle it out for the eventual crown the following day, with teams finishing third- and fourth places fighting for the bronze medal and the fifth- and sixth-placed sides contesting the 5th-6th playoff match.

On Tuesday, the penultimate day of the single round-robin competition, Thailand mercilessly crushed Singapore in a completely one-sided battle 3-0 (25-7, 25-9, 25-9), while Philippines powered past Australia 3-1 (25-16, 25-23, 21-25, 25-19) and Indonesia demolished Malaysia 3-0 (25-22, 25-17, 25-12).

Despite going down in straight sets in the previous match against hosts Thailand, the Philippines still kept their final bid alive following their dramatic win on Tuesday, resulting in the similar 3-1 win/loss record as Indonesia. The Philippines will now battle it out with Indonesia in their last encounter of the single round robin on Wednesday, which will decide the second-placed team to face off against the pacesetters Thailand in the Thursday’s final showdown.

Philippines got off to a brilliant start in the first set against Australia on Tuesday, with skipper and opposite Harlyn Serneche and outside hitter Kimberly Chelmei Rubin orchestrating their offensive system with their powerful attacks to help the team win 25-16 in the comfortable contest.

Australians regrouped and fought back hard for a comeback in the second set. With skipper and outside hitter Matisse Conlon on fire with her attacks and middle blockers Anni Tang, 196cm, and the 186cm-tall Chelsea Cocks effectively producing solid blocks, Aussies raced to a commanding lead with a four-point clear at 23-19.  However, Philippines showed their resilience to win four points in a row including a service ace by Avirl Denise Bron to level it at 23-23. Tang committed an attacking error to bring Philippines to the set point 24-23 and Denesse Daylisan fired an off-the-block kill for the 25-23 win.

Their confidence boosted after winning two straight sets, Philippines went on their attacks in the third set, but the Australians clawed their way back. Opposite Lara Maric unleashed impressive attacks and Tang and Cocks blocking for everything to help the Aussies steal the show and seal the set win 25-21.

Philippines restored order in the fourth set, leaning on attacks from Kimberly Chelmei Rubin and Harlyn Serneche. Australia still counter-attacked well, but their attempts did not pay dividends. Philippines captured the set 25-19 and match.

Harlyn Serneche scored a match-high 18 points from 13 attacks, 2 blocks and 3 aces for Philippines, while Kimberly Chelmei Rubin and Lianne Penuliar contributed 12 and 9 points respectively. Lara Maric led Australia with 16 points including 12 kills from 33 attempts. 

Meanwhile, Indonesia, which succumbed to straight-set loss to Thailand in their campaign opener, claimed their consecutive third win on Tuesday following their thrilling three-set win against Malaysia.

After sealing the hard-fought first-set win 25-22, Indonesia still performed impressively to dominate the next two sets 25-17 and 25-12, thanks to Junaida Santi’s powerful attacks.

Outside hitter Junaida Santi was the most productive player in this match to chip in with 20 points from 15 kills and 5 aces for Indonesia, while Tian Ye Eunice scored 13 points on the Malaysia’s loss.  

In a totally lopsided battle between Thailand and winless Singapore, the host side rested their best player Supawadee Phanwilai throughout the whole match to claim their consecutive fourth win on Tuesday with easy straight-set 25-7, 25-9, 25-9 win against the lack lustrous visitors.

Outside hitter Thanita Aiamlaoo chipped in with 13 points, all from attacks, for Thailand, while Wisaruta Sengna and Sasithorn Jatta kept good company to add 10 and 8 points respectively.

No Singaporean player reached double digits in scoring against the Thais, with outside hitter Chia Yu-en Elizabeth bagging 7 points on the loss.

After four days of action, hosts Thailand remained on top of the six-team standing with perfect 12 points from straight four wins without losing a set. Indonesia and Philippines had similar 9 points from three wins against one loss, with the former taking the better sets ratio to trail in second place and Philippines in close third position.

On Wednesday, Philippines will battle it out with Indonesia, with Australia taking on Singapore and Thailand playing Malaysia.



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