PHILIPPINES OVERCOME KAZAKHSTAN’S STURDY CHALLENGE TO CLAIM 9TH PLACE IN AVC CUP
Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand, September 22, 2018 – Debutantes Philippines proved a cut above Kazakhstan by thrashing the young rivals they had already beaten in the pool plays to finish 9th place at the AVC Cup for Women at the Chartchai Hall here on Saturday.
The Philippines demolished Kazakhstan in what could be a Pool C rematch in five sets 25-13 23-25 25-22 17-25 15-8 for the 9th place, their achievement in the historic tournament for the team.
The Philippines have never competed in the AVC Cup since only top eight teams in the Asian Senior Women’s Championship would be qualified for this top-tier competition. The amount of the participating teams have been increased to 10 in the 6th edition in Nakhon Ratchasima. Philippines finished 8th in the last year’s Asian meet on home soil to automatically make the cut for the 6th AVC Cup here.
Kazakhstan sent in a full team senior national side to pick up silver at the previous edition in Vinh Phuc, Vietnam two years ago, but were represented this time by a young squad whose age average is 22.2 years.
Mylene Paat scored a match-high 18 points for the Philippines from 12 attacks, 2 blocks and a team-leading 4 aces, while Alyssa Valdez and Charleen Abigaile Cruz kept good company with 17 and 16 points respectively. Dinara Syzdykova led Kazakhstan with 16 points including 12 kills from 43 attempts.
In the first set, the Philippines made a strong start to lead with a five-point advantage at 16-11, thanks to fine attacks from Alyssa Valdez and Mylene Paat. From then on, it turned out to be one-way traffic, with the Kazakh game riddled with unforced serving and attacking mistakes. Philippines wrapped up the one-sided set 25-13.
Kazakhstan turned the tide in the second set when they gained the upper hand, with Dinara Syzdykova, Zarina Sitkazinova and Aidana Oryntayeva producing some good attacks to help the team take an early 16-14 lead. Philippines counter-attacked well to reduce the gap to 22-24 but Kazakhstan allowed them only one more point to win the close set 25-23.
The Philippines regained their composure in the third set and hit back with attacks from Valdez and Paat and Charleen Abigaile Cruz to capture the lead by wide margin 17-11. Kazakhstan clawed back into the game, but the Philippines held firm to win the set 25-22.
Dinara Syzdykova gave Kazakhstan a successful comeback in the fourth set when she, coupled with Sitkazinova, unleashed a barrage of attacks for the team’s comfortable 25-17 win.
In the decider, Kazakhstan were error-strewn with service and attacks, allowing the opponents scoring opportunities. The Philippines led initially 7-6 and stretched it to 12-7. Despite a fightback from the rivals, the Philippines continued their good show to capture the set 15-8, match and 9th place. Kazakhstan, silver medalists in the previous edition, finished 10th place overall.
“We served well and we beat them twice in this tournament. Hopefully, we maintain our performance. We need to improve on balance. We can set higher target when we compete in other tournaments. It’s good experience for us and we’ve learned a lot from this tournament. Hopefully, we can take part in more tournaments like this. We need experience because my players are young,” Philippines head coach Delos Santos Cesael commented after the match.
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