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Despite defeat, lady spikers earn praise from Thai coach

KUALA LUMPUR – Despite its second straight defeat at the hands of Vietnam Sunday, the women’s national volleyball team has earned the admiration of the head coach of multi-titled Thailand.

“Your team has improved tremendously,” said Danai Sriwacharamaytakul. “Your system is also good.”

Alyssa Valdez (MB photo | Ali Vicoy)

Alyssa Valdez (MB photo | Ali Vicoy)

Sriwacharamaytakul said he was surprised to see many skilful players.

“Before, I only see one or two good players. Now, everyone is good,” he said.

Sriwacharamaytakul said the team needs more experience and matches to get to the next level.

The Filipinas lost to Vietnam, 25-27, 25-22, 25-20, 25-21, in the battle for the bronze medal.

Jaja Santiago and Alyssa Valdez led the team with 20 and 17 points, respectively.

The most glaring discrepancy came in the blocks department where the Vietnamese won 14 points against the Filipinas’ five.

The Filipinas won a tightly-fought first set, but couldn’t close the deal as the Vietnamese proved tougher than the stretch.

“Nandoon na tayo, eh. Umaabot na tayo ng 20 pero hindi natin matapos,” rued PH coach Francis Vicente who worked two months with the players.

Vicente said he hopes that the team can be kept and train together.

“Wala pang desisyon. Hindi pa namin alam ano mangyayari pag-uwi,” he said.

Turning emotional, Vicente said it’s an honor to be given the chance to handle the team, a collection of superstars from two major volleyball leagues back home.

The spikers won their first match against Malaysia before dropping their last three assignments, twice against Vietnam.

The Philippines won the first three staging of volleyball from 1977, lost to Indonesia in 1983 before winning three of the next five, the last in 1993.

Thailand has been undefeated since 1995. (Rey Bancod)