(Photo by Rave Sengco/Sports Gateway PH)
MALAYSIA — The Philippines and Thailand battled each other in the semi-finals of the Southeast Asian Games 2017 women’s volleyball competition at Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on Saturday.
Yet despite a good fight put up by the national team, Thailand’s experience and firepower proved to be too much to overcome. They defeated the Philippines in straight sets, 25-21, 25-17, 25-17.
As if deja vu of their match in the Philippines for the 2017 Asian Senior Women’s Volleyball Championships, the national team tried to keep in step with the Thais in the opening set of the game. However, Thailand skipper Pleumjit Thinkaow, who finished the game with 13 points in 10 attacks, one block, and one service ace, propelled her team to avoid an early upset.
Philippines once again started strong in the second set, but Thailand’s composure did not allow the former to pull away. Aside from Thinkaow’s relentless attacks in the middle, fellow national team mainstay Wilavan Apinyapong also displayed her firepower in certain stretches. To make things worse for the Philippines, Thailand finally pulled multi-awarded setter Nootsara Tomkom off the bench to secure the second set victory.
The Thais then stepped on the gas and went on a full rampage in the third set to build an overwhelming 16-8 lead. The last ditched effort of the Philippine team in the latter part of the set appeared to be too late to save the match.
Young gunner Pimpichaya Kokram top-scored the game for the Thais along with Thinkaow with her 13 points. Middle blocker Pattaya Bambrungsuk added 12 markers.
On the other end, Jaja Santiago tallied 15 points while Alyssa Valdez recorded 10 points on attacks.
Thailand now advances to the gold medal match and awaits the winner of the other semi-finals game between Vietnam and Indonesia. The Philippines will have a chance to secure a medal for the country after several years of drought as the team will battle for bronze against the loser of the said match.