NEWLY-FORMED PHILIPPINES DEMOLISH YOUNG KAZAKHSTAN IN DRAMATIC 4-SETTER
Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand, September 18, 2018 – The Philippines tasted their first win at the 6th AVC Cup for Women after the newly-formed side pulled off a scintillating 3-1 (25-22 25-23 20-25 25-17) win over young Kazakhstan at the Chartchai Hall on Tuesday.
With the win, the Philippines finished third in Pool C with 5 points from one win against two losses, while Kazakhstan came in fourth place with 2 points from three losses.
Alyssa Valdez contributed 16 points for the Philippines including 13 attacks from 44 attempts and a team-leading 3 aces, while Anastassiya Rostovchshikov led Kazakhstan with 15 points.
Both teams have yet won a match in the one-week competition and they were battling it out for the well-earned third place in Pool C. At the recent Asian Games in Indonesia, the Kazakhstan national senior team beat the Philippines 3-2 in the 5th-8th classification.
The Philippines made a solid start in the first set, with star spiker Alyssa Valdez leading the team challenge against the young, potential Kazakhstan, whose average age is 22.2 years. The Filipinas initially captured the lead with a four-point clear at 12-8, thanks to their well-organised defence and powerful attacks from Valdez and left-hander Mylene Paat. Kazakhstan gradually pulled their game together to close the margin at 22-22. The Philippines went on their superb form to advance to 24-22 before Valdez overpowered the taller Kazakhstan’s triple blocks with her exceptional spike to help her team take the hard-fought set 25-22.
Their confidence boosted after one-set win, the Philippines still performed well up to their level. The momentum was with coach Delos Santos Cesael’s girls and they continued to put the Kazakh side under enormous pressure in the second set, which they led 7-4. Kazakhstan improved on their reception and at the same time uncorked a barrage of aggressive attacks from Zarina Sitkazinova and Anastassiya Rostovchshikov which blunted the Philippine blocking attempts. The score was levelled at 23-23, but the Filipinas held firm to win both points for the eventual 25-23 win.
Going down straight two sets, Kazakhstan recovered from a slow start and started to produce the good. They seized the lead with a 6-point advantage at 7-1 and advanced to 16-12 at the second technical timeout. The Philippines remained hot on the rivals’ heels as Valdez and Paat chipped in with thunderous attacks to reduce the gap at 17-20. Still, the Kazakhstan’s onslaughts continued. With Sitkazinova producing well-placed serves and Aidana Oryntayeva attacking from the back row, Kazakhstan captured the set 25-20.
In the fourth set, Kazakhstan led initially 8-7, but the Philippines regained their composure and hit back with brilliant form, using exceptional attacks from Paat and Valdez and scintillating blocks by Paat and Risa Sato to win the easy set 25-17 and match.
“As a coach, I’m so happy and proud. We lost two games and this is our first win. I just wish them the best of luck. This is a new team. They need more experience in such a high-level competition like this. For our target, we just need our players to gain more experience and stand a chance to play with strong teams like Thailand. We also aim for a higher target in the next SEA Games. To reach that high, we have to start now. It’s a long-term plan,” Philippines head coach Delos Santos Cesael commented.
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