SUBIC—The Philipine pairs of Sisi Rondina and Bernadeth Pons, and Dzi Gervacio and Dij Rodriguez were left in a tight situation in the women's beach volleyball tournament at the 2019 SEA Games after humbling defeats at the hands of defending champion Thailand on Tuesday at the Subic Tennis Court.
The loss put the Philippines in a must-win situation against Singapore if the hosts hope to salvage a bronze medal.
According to national team head coach Paul Jan Doloiras, the team can still secure a podium spot if the Filipinos sweep the Singaporean duos and Vietnam loses to Indonesia.
Crowd favorite Rondina and Pons challenged the pair of Varapatsorn Radarong and Khanittha Hongpak of Thailand with an extended first set but fell short in the second frame to drop the match, 24-26, 15-21.
"Kumbaga experience 'yung nangyari. Mas pulido sila pagdating ng dikdikan. We are blessed na nakita namin paano tayo sumabay sa ibang teams," Rondina said.
The Filipinas fought toe to toe with the taller and much-experienced Thai pair who threw powerful hits, but the visitors proved too much, targeting Pons especially in with their services.
"Sobrang intense ko talaga kasi alam ko na kaya namin. Sabi ko sa kaniya [Pons] utakan mo lang kasi dadaanin tayo sa pagiging beterano niyan," the 4-time UAAP beach volley MVP champion said.
"I'm proud na si Pons di bumitaw, di niya ako iniwan. Pinakita pa rin ano 'yung nailalabas namin as tandem at as Filipino na rin."
The UAAP indoor volley MVP is hoping her team can slate the win over Singapore.
"Maganda programa nila, pero syempre di tayo papatalo dyan sa Singapore. Medalya na pag-uusapan sa December 6," she said.
Meanwhile, Gervacio and Rodriguez failed to force a deciding match as they lost to Tanarattha Udomchavee and Rumpaipruet Numwong, 16-21, 14-21, and settled the Philippines to a 2-2 win-loss record.
The second pair from the host country could not match the duo from Thailand, which put up a commanding lead from the get go.
The Philippines is currently sitting third behind undefeated Thailand and Indonesia.
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