AVC Cup: Philippines grabs first win vs Iran

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 24 2022 11:00 PM

The Philippine team celebrates after scoring. Hand out photo
The Philippine team celebrates after scoring. Hand out photo

The Philippines overcame a rough patch in the third set to beat Iran, 25-19, 25-22, 20-25, 25-14 and move closer in securing a place in the quarterfinals of the AVC Cup for Women at the PhilSports Arena Wednesday night. 

The national women's team turned to its improved first ball in the fourth set, as ace spikers Jema Galanza, Michele Gumabao and Tots Carlos went on attack mode against their foes. 

"We were not able to recover in the third set because we lost our first ball. The Iranians were intimidating with their height when you lose the first ball. Had we have good receive, we will have good combination plays," said coach Sherwin Meneses after the Philippines entered the win column in Pool A.

Galanza tallied eight of her match-high 21 points in the fourth set, while Carlos and Gumabao added 14 and 13 points, respectively for the hosts.

The national women's team's net defense also clicked, as middles Jeanette Panaga and Ced Domingo combined for five blocks. Carlos also gave significant contributions in the blocking department, recording two of the team's 11 blocks.

Panaga was determined to bounce back after a disappointing performance in the Philippines' 16-25, 22-25, 20-25 loss to China last Tuesday. The national women's team failed to score a single block against the mighty Chinese.

"We really need to bounce back. Of course, I needed to step up," said Panaga. "If there's what's lacking against China, we need to bounce back against Iran."

Elahe Poor Saleh Shadehsari led the Iranians with 13 points, including two service aces, while Mahsa Kadkhoda contributed nine points.

The loss dropped Iran in a tie with the Philippines in third place in their pool at 1-2.

The Philippines will next face South Korea at 7 p.m. on Thursday, while Iran will take on China at 4 p.m. on the same day. With a 0-3 record, the Koreans are trying to avoid ending up as the ninth place team in the tournament.

"Every single day, our coaches are already there to remind us that we play with no pressure, but with pride for the Philippines. We will fight until the end," said Gumabao.

"Every single game, we will always give our best. Whatever happens, we always train, we play volleyball. We will just do our best and continue to improve every single game," she added.