SEA Games: PH men’s volleyball team upset by Cambodia

Karl Cedrick Basco, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 14 2022 03:18 PM

Photo from PNVF website
Photo from PNVF website

MANILA – The Philippine men’s volleyball team started its Southeast Asian Games campaign on the wrong foot, stumbling to Cambodia, 21-25, 26-24, 28-30, 27-29, in Hanoi Saturday.

The team, who won silver at the 2019 SEA Games held in Manila, had difficulties closing tight sets and were squandering late leads.

After equalizing at one set apiece, the Philippines rallied from a 20-23 deficit in the third to tie the score at 23, thanks to a solid block of Kim Malabunga. 

But Marck Espejo’s attack went wide in the set extension before the Filipinos committed a miscue, giving Cambodia a 2-1 lead in the match.

The game was nip and tuck up to the fourth frame. Cambodia went at match point after a backrow hit, but Bryan Bagunas hammered a down-the-line hit to extend the set to deuce. 

The Philippines could have forced a decider after an error by their opponent for a 25-24 set point, but Cambodia scored off a checked ball. 

A sharp hit and a block to Espejo propelled Cambodia to victory.

The Philippines is grouped with Cambodia and Thailand, where top two teams will advance into the semifinals.