MANILA, Philippines — The young Philippine women’s volleyball team started off its second leg campaign in the Southeast Asia (SEA) VLeague on the wrong foot after getting swept anew by the powerhouse host Thailand anew, 15-25, 17-25, 18-25, on Friday at Chiang Mai Sports Complex.
The Filipino Spikers, led by Bella Belen and Alyssa Solomon, put up a better fight against the defending champions unlike their lopsided first-leg showdown but the Thais were still too much, denying the gallant stand of the visitors in the third set as Thatdao Nuekjang and Sasiporn Janthawisut put on the finishing touches.
The Nationals took an 8-7 lead after Erin Pangilinan’s quick attack to start the third. But the four-time tournament champions got their act together and scored four straight points capped by first-leg MVP Ajcharaporn Kongyot’s block for an 11-8 spread before Janthawisut stretched it to an 18-12 gap.
Solomon nailed a block to ignite a late run and trim it to a three-point game, 18-15, but Nuekjang delivered the clutch hits to regain momentum and reach match point, 24-17, before committing a service error. Myrtle Escanlar’s serve was way off the mark as the Philippines lost its first game of the second leg.
Brazilian coach Jorge Souza De Brito, who missed the first leg where Norman Miguel called the shots, returned to the team but the rebuilding roster mostly composed of National University players remained winless in four games including last week’s matches in Vietnam.
Chatchu-on Moksri also made the most of her limited action, setting the tone for Thailand’s dominant second set to take a two-set lead.
Aside from Belen and Solomon, Vange Alinsug also stepped up for the Filipino Spikers, who have AC Miner and Minierva Maaya as middle blockers, setter Camilla Lamina, and libero Roma Mae Doromal.
The Philippines takes on first-leg runner-up Vietnam on Saturday at 1 p.m.
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