BINAN CITY, Laguna –-- The Philippine national women’s volleyball team put up a gallant stand against Kazakhstan but the visiting team’s power and height advantage were too much for the Pinays to handle.
Five-foot-10 ace hitter Katerina Tatko wreaked havoc with her powerful missiles while 6-footer Yekatarina Zhdanova was a sentinel at the net as the Kazakhs swept Philippines, 25-23, 25-20, 25-19, Friday in Pool A of the 19th SMM Asian Senior Women’s Volleyball Championship at the Alonte Sports Arena here.
Tatko finished with 20 points to lead Kazakhstan, which duplicated its straight sets win over the Filipinas two years ago in Tianjin, China.
Kazakhstan swept the round for a 2-0 win-loss record while handing PHI its first loss in two games.
The home team gave the huge crowd inside the arena something to cheer about early on as the Filipinas went ahead 8-4 and 12-8 in the opening set with Alyssa Valdez, Jaja Santiago and Ces Molina leading the way.
But the taller Kazakhs kept their composure and slowly silenced the home team with their superb blocking and with Tatko doing most of the damage.
Valdez challenged Tatko in a shootout in the second set and the Pinays took an 18-17 lead.
The Kazakhs adjusted their defense and kept the pressure on the Filipinas and broke an 18-18 deadlock with a 4-1 rally for a 22-19 lead.
PHI closed the gap, 20-22, but Tatko hammered a kill and Zhdanova scored back-to-back kill blocks against Valdez to end the frame for a 2-0 match lead.
Kazakhstan raced to a 16-10 lead in the third and kept the match under control despite the PHI’s last ditch effort to mount a rally.
Valdez had 14 points for the PHI.
Philippines and Kazakhstan will face Korea and Vietnam in Pool E quarterfinals classification round starting Sunday.
The tournament will have a ceasefire Saturday.
Kazakhstan will take on Vietnam while PHI squares off with South Korea.
This story was originally published on the ABS-CBN Sports website.