The Philippine women’s volleyball team was blanked in its two-day match campaign in the Philippine National Volleyball Federation (PNVF) International Challenge, culminating in a four-set sweep loss to Japan, 25-14, 25-9, 25-23, 25-19.
Leading Volleyball League MVP Tots Carlos sustained her strength, showing in her first national team stint with 14 points against the world’s number 7 team at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan City last Sunday, June 12. She tallied the first point of the match on a backrow kill, but it was all Japan after that, streaking ahead 8-4 en route to a 25-14 first set.
In the second set, the Japanese just did themselves one better, holding the Philippines to just 9 points to take a commanding 2-0 lead, 25-9.
However, a different Philippines side came out during the third period, going point per point with Japan and even taking a 23-22 lead late. Despite long odds, the Filipinas led by Carlos actually gave the Japanese a strong fight in that third quarter.
Mylene Paat also scored 8 while captain Aby Maraño chipped in 7 in the friendly game, which was set to end in four sets no matter what the set scores would be.
The Philippines was still within 18-21 in the fourth set endgame, but Mayu Ishikawa effectively sealed the deal with back-to-back points for the 23-18 advantage.
Ishikawa led all scorers with 22 points off the bench on 19 attacks and 3 aces, while Airi Miyabe scored 13 in just three sets.
The Philippines also fell short a day prior to reigning Southeast Asian Games champion Thailand in three sets, 25-13, 25-10, and 25-16.
No Filipina breached double-digit scoring, as Maraño led with just 6 points. Star blocker Dell Palomata added 5, while longtime star Alyssa Valdez was held scoreless.
On the winning side, Thailand opened the gates right away by mounting a nine-point lead in the opening set. A down-the-line hit by Janthawisut gave the visitors the first set by way of a 25-13 decision.
Pimpichaya Kokram captained the Thais’ attack with 15 points from 13 kills while Sasipapron Janthawisut scored 13 from 12 attacks.
The Filipinas did put up a fight in the set three with 12-9 prior to Kokram triggering the 7-1 blast for the visitors to grab a 19-10 lead to sweep with the match only lasting for an hour and 16 minutes.
Ajcharaporn Kongyot also had eight despite suiting up only the first and third sets, as Chatchu-on Moksri got with seven markers, all coming in the second set.
Thailand came out with a masterclass performance delivering victory over Philippines with a straight win, 25-13, 25-10, and 25-16.
“This is something new to us also, we’ve never had this international friendly match here in the Philippines,” Alyssa Valdez said. “Nagpapasalamat kami dahil every time we play against them [Thailand], andami naming natutunan. “Nagkakaroon pa kami ng inspiration at bagong motivation as players individually and as a team also, na puwede pa naming ma-improve ‘yung mga sarili namin.”
Both Japan and Thailand are currently in the country in preparation for the upcoming Philippine leg of the Volleyball Nations League.
The Japanese currently lead the standings with a clean 4-0 record, while the Thais are not far behind at 3-1.
Meanwhile, the Philippines is taking advantage of hosting exhibition games against these excellent teams.