MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine women’s volleyball team absorbed a lopsided 15-25, 13-25, 14-25 loss to defending champion Thailand on Saturday in the 31st Southeast Asian Games at Quang Ninh Gymnasium in Vietnam.
Playing their first SEA Games without their national team legends Pleumjit Thinkaow, setter Nootsara Tomkom and Wilavan Apinyapong, the Thais still proved to be too much for the Filipino spikers, kicking off their drive for a 15th gold medal on a high note.
Chatchu-on Moksri, who played as import in Turkey, embarked a new era for Thailand national team, which is gunning for a 13th straight championship in the biennial meet.
Setter Pornpun Guedpard scattered the offensive wealth as Jarasporn Bundasak, Ajcharaporn Kongyot, and Sutadta Chuewulim, a former Perlas Spikers’ import in the Premier Volleyball League, sent the Philippines to its first loss after two matches.
Jaja Santiago, once again, led the charge for the national team with her timely attacks and blocks.
Mylene Paat, who played for Nakhon Ratchasima in the Volleyball Thailand League, provided the support for the 6-foot-5 middle blocker. But it wasn’t enough to stop the dominance of Thailand.
The Philippines fell to 1-1 after failing to sustain its momentum from a 25-14, 25-20, 25-15 victory over Malaysia on Friday.
The women’s national team battles Indonesia (0-1) on Tuesday. The top two teams after the single round robin will advance to the gold medal match, while No.3 and No.4 ranked teams clash for bronze.
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