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PH comes up short against Kazakhstan

BIÑAN, Laguna – The Philippines fought hard but came up short against the taller and more experienced Kazakhstan side, 25-23, 25-20, 25-19, last night in the 19th Asian Senior Women’s Volleyball Championships at the Alonte Sports Arena here.

The Nationals found it difficult to break through the solid Kazakh wall and suffered their first loss in Pool A.

Despite the loss, the PH team is still assured of a quarterfinal slot following its 25-21, 25-16, 25-17 win over Hong Kong last Wednesday.

Kazakhstan topped the group with a 2-0 card. The Kazakhs also defeated HK, 25-16, 25-17, 25-11, Thursday night.

Alyssa Valdez led the Filipinos anew with 14 points including 11 kills, while Jaja Santiago added 13 points built on nine spikes, two blocks and two aces.

The Filipinos had some shining moments.

They took a quick 8-4 lead in the opening set behind back-to-back aces from Alyssa Valdez, and rallied from a 16-12 second-set deficit to 16-15 by penetrating Kazakhstan’s solid net defense.

But the Kazakhs, who finished seventh the last time, were quick to regroup behind 17 blocks.

The PH team’s quarterfinal appearance will be its first since making it in the 2013 Vietnam edition, also eclipsing its back-to-back 12th place finish in the 2013 Thailand and 2015 China editions.

The Nationals will also join South Korea and Vietnam into the round-robin two-group next phase, which will determine the rankings in the quarters. The other group is made up of China, South Korea, Thailand, and Chinese Taipei.

The PH team will face South Korea tomorrow.