Pinay spikers clash with Thais for semifinals berth

Mark Escarlote, ABS-CBN Sports

Posted at Aug 15 2017 10:21 AM

The Philippine national women's volleyball team stares at regional giant Thailand right right the eyes with hopes of making a repeat of its upset against Vietnam to secure a semifinals slot. Richard Esguerra, ABS-CBN Sports.

BINAN CITY, Laguna –-- The Philippine national team shoots for a semifinals spot Tuesday against Southeast Asian powerhouse Thailand in the 19th AVC Asian Senior Women's Volleyball Championship at the Alonte Sports Arena here.

Facing a daunting task against an opponent the PHI has yet to beat in the Asian tilt, head coach Francis Vicente is keeping their hopes high despite going up against FIVB world ranked no. 14 Thailand in the knockout match slated at 5:30 p.m.

The match will air on delayed basis at 6:30 p.m. on ABS-CBN S+A Channel 23 and ABS-CBN S+A HD Channel 166.

The mentor, though carefully managing expectations, hopes to hinge on the squad’s 27-25, 26-24, 17-25, 25-23, upset win against Vietnam Monday night in Pool E quarterfinals classification round.

“Malaking morale boost yun (panalo against Vietnam) kasi syempre iisipin ngayon ng mga bata "kaya pala namin?" Pag naisip ng bata na kaya namin, tutuloy tuloy na ‘yun .Ime-maintain lang namin,” said Vicente, whose squad is bracketed with Malaysia and Vietnam in the group stage of the 29th Kuala Lumpur Southeast Asian Games starting August 19.

The Filipinas behind the 20 points of Alyssa Valdez and the 19 markers of 6-foot-5 Jaja Santiago turned back Vietnam in the their first meeting in the tournament and avenged the host team’s straight sets loss in the 2015 Singapore Southeast Asian Games in the group stage against the eventual silver medal winners. 

Thailand, the defending SEA Games champion, is coming off a 25-22, 20-25, 22-25, 24-26 loss at the hands of unbeaten Japan to land at second seed in Pool F.

The winner of the match will face the survivor of South Korea and Chinese-Taipei duel slated at 12:30 p.m. in the semifinals.

Kazakhstan and defending champion China meet in the curtain-raiser at 10:00 a.m. for the right to face in the Final Four the winner between Japan and Vietnam, which will square off at 3:00 p.m.

This article originally appeared on the ABS-CBN Sports website.