JAKARTA, Indonesia – The Philippines started hot but couldn’t sustain the fire as it yielded to powerhouse Thailand, 25-22, 25-12, 25-15, in its opening game in Group A of the women’s volleyball tournament of the 2018 Asian Games at the GBK Volleyball Indoor Arena, Sunday (August 19).
Playing for the first time in the Asiad after 36 years, the Filipinas surprised the Thais in the opening frame, leading for majority of the set – the biggest at 9-2 – before the latter bounced back and breezed through the straight set win.
The Philippines looks to bounce back on Tuesday (August 21) when it faces five-time Asian Games gold medalist Japan, while Thailand takes a three-day break before it resumes its road to the elusive gold medal against the Japanese on Thursday (August 23).
Youngsters Chatchu-on Moksri and Pimpichaya Kokram proved to be a thorn in the Philippines side, tallying 15 and 13 points, respectively, with the 18-year old Moksri mustering three service aces and two blocks to lead Thailand.
Team captain Pleumjit Thinkaow also had 10 points on a 7 of 8 spikes percentage – mostly as a result of quick sets from setter Pornpun Geudpard – while Wilavan Apinyapong had eight. Geudpard had six points and 26 excellent sets.
Despite trailing big early in the game, the 2014 Asian Games bronze medalist Thailand managed to stay composed, banking on its vast experience to frustrate the young Filipinas.
The Philippines was still on top at 19-21 late in the first set and had the chance to pull off the shocker, but failed to find answers on Thailand’s explosive attacks and dropped the first set, 25-22.
It was all Thailand show since then.
Alyssa Valdez top-scored for the Philippines with seven points, but she, along with Jaja Santiago (six points) and Kim Dy (six points), was eventually shut down by the Thais’ defense.