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PH Spikers battle tough China squad

THE Creamline Cool Smashers-bannered Philippine team looks to bounce back and boost its quarterfinals bid in the Asian Volleyball Confederation (AVC) Cup for Women today, August 23, at the PhilSports Arena in Pasig.

Following a gallant stand on Sunday when the Filipinos lost to Vietnam 19-25, 17-25, 29-31 in their tournament debut, the nationals are eager for a rebound win but it will be a daunting task as they face defending champion China at 7 p.m.

Philippines’ Celine Domingo attempts to block Vietnam’s Tran Thi Thanh Thuy during the opening day of the Asian Volleyball Confederation Cup for Women on Sunday, Aug. 21, 2022, at the PhilSports Arena in Pasig. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Philippines’ Celine Domingo attempts to block Vietnam’s Tran Thi Thanh Thuy during the opening day of the Asian Volleyball Confederation Cup for Women on Sunday, Aug. 21, 2022, at the PhilSports Arena in Pasig. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

The Chinese asserted their dominance against a youthful South Korean side, 25-9, 25-8, 25-9, to start their campaign with a rousing win on Sunday. At press time, China is battling Vietnam (1-0) for the solo lead in the Pool A standings.

While China utterly bulldozed the South Koreans, the Filipinos struggled against the Vietnamese in their first game of the tourney, where the home team built sizable early leads in the first and second sets only for the visitors to catch up and dominate for the rest of the way.

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In the third set, Vietnam looked poised to just leave the Philippines in the dust, starting with a 4-0 run and leading by six multiple times, with the last one being 18-12.

Despite the absence of star players Alyssa Valdez and Jia Morado owing to health and safety protocols and dengue, respectively, the Filipinos fought back and even put themselves at set point twice, the last one being 29-28 on a Tots Carlos block kill.

A Carlos attack error, a block kill by Vietnam, and a backline attack by Thi Thanh Thuy Tran, however, completed the sweep for Vietnam.

The Vietnamese led by Tran Thi Thanh Thuy did a great job of limiting the top scorers of the Philippines, which also didn't have Risa Sato and coach Sherwin Meneses due to health and safety protocols.

Jema Galanza led the Filipinos in scoring with 13 points but did so on an 11-of-42 attack clip; Michele Gumabao tallied 11 markers on 9-of-30 and this year's PVL Open and Invitational Conferences MVP Tots Carlos put up nine points on 7-of-39 clip.

And it won't be easier for the aforementioned players to score against a China squad, with 11 of its 14-woman roster standing with a height of at least six foot.

Leading the charge for China against South Korea were 6-foot Zhuang Yushan, 6-foot-1 Zhou Yetong, and 6-foot-1 Hu Mingyuan, who scored 13, 11 and 10 points, respectively.

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