(Photo by Flavius Dulce/Sports Gateway PH)
LAGUNA, Philippines — The height and might of the Kazakhstan women’s volleyball team proved to be too much for the Philippines to handle as the nationals were outplayed by their counterparts on Friday at the Alone Sports Arena.
Even with the homeport advantage, the Philippines fell to Kazakhstan in straight sets, 23-25, 20-25, 19-25.
Yet the home country did not go down without a fight. Right from the get-go, the nationals waxed hot led by the offensive onslaught of Alyssa Valdez, who top-scored for the team with 14 points in 11 attacks and three service aces.
The Philippines’ tower of might Jaja Santiago also displayed her offensive prowess with 13 points, including two blocks and two service aces. Both Valdez and Santiago were part of the Under-23 team that defeated the Kazakhs on Philippine soil back in 2015.
But ever since the Kazakhstan got their rhythm back to lead 21-19 over the home country late in the first set, they never looked back. While the Philippines were able to keep at par with them in terms of converted attacks 37-36, the disparity in block points made all the difference. The Kazakhs were able to convert 17 blocks to points, while the Philippines were limited to three.
The unforgiving defense of the taller Kazakhs not only distorted the offensive game of the nationals, but also shut down the mini rallies put up by the ladies in an effort to turn the game around.
Kazakh ace spiker Katerina Tatko tallied 20 points in 14 attacks, four service aces, and two blocks. Yekaterina Zhdanova was a steady support with 11 markers. Meanwhile, team skipper Radmila Beresneva led her team by example with four block points in her total of nine.
Despite the loss, the Philippines already qualified to be in the quarterfinals of the Asian Volleyball Championship due to their emphatic straight sets win over Hong Kong on Wednesday.
Earlier on Friday, volleyball powerhouse Korea defeated Vietnam in four sets, 25-23, 25-19, 17-25, 25-22. Thailand also turned down Chinese Taipei in three sets, 26-24, 25-14, 25-15.