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Bronze for Istanbul

VakifBank Istanbul looks at their fans to thank them as they place 3rd during the FIVB match against Volero Zurich at MOA Arena in Pasay, October 23, 2016 (Rio Leonelle Deluvio)

VakifBank Istanbul salvaged Saturday’s semifinal loss and bested Volero Zurich, 25-14, 21-25, 25-22, 25-11, yesterday to settle for the bronze medal in the 2016 FIVB Volleyball Women’s Club World Championship at the Mall of Asia Arena.

The Turkish squad, who lost to fellow Turkish crew and defending champion Eczabicasi Vitra Istanbul for a spot in the finals, still kept their composure by providing a tough defensive wall at the net with 19 blocks.

2012 London Olympian Milena Rasic of Serbia and Rio Olympics Most Valuable Player Zhu Ting of China led that defensive assault with seven and five blocks, respectively.

“It’s not easy to play (today) for both teams because we are coming from losses (yesterday). The mood is not good, but we came here to finish well,” said VakifBank skipper Gozde Kirdar, also a London Games veteran who finished with 11 points including 10 kills.

Dutch Olympian Lonneke Sloejtes bannered VakifBank with 16 points, all coming from attacks, even as Rasic and Ting added 15 and 13 points, respectively.

The win was also a revenge of sorts for VakifBank, which lost to the same crew in the preliminary stage in five sets.

Volero Zurich, who finished unbeaten in the preliminaries only to bow against Pomi Casalmaggiore in the semis, finished fourth with Dobriana Rabadzhieva and Foluke Akinradewo posting 13 and 10 points, respectively.

Earlier, Rexona-Sesc Rio survived Hisamitsu Springs Kobe with a 20-25, 25-22, 25-15, 30-32, 15-7 triumph to finish fifth.

Meanwhile, PSL-F2 Logistics Manila gave its best but still yielded to seasoned rival Bangkok Glass, 25-16, 25-23, 25-20.

The PSL-F2 spikers trailed for most part of the match but refused to give up the fight as they finished the weeklong high-level tournament with no wins in five matches.

Middle spiker Jaja Santiago scored 11 points including nine attacks for PSL-F2, particularly in the third set where Serbian Coach Moro Branislav fielded an all-Filipino lineup.

The hometown bets led early in that frame, 4-1, to the delight of the crowd, but the Southeast Asian powerhouse team was quick to recover with Ashley Frazier, Nguyen Thi Ngoc Hoa and Thidarat Phengvecha at the frontline of their attack.

Frazier, a former collegiate standout in the United States, tallied 12 points, while Nguyen and Thidarat added 11 points each.

Despite a winless campaign, PSL-F2 still boasts some pride as its only set victory all throughout came at the expense of last year’s champion Eczacibasi Vitra Istanbul in the preliminaries last Friday.