JAKARTA, Indonesia – After getting clobbered by Olympic champion China in the quarterfinal, the Philippine women’s volleyball team shoots for some measure of respect when they battle Kazakhstan in the classification round of the 2018 Asian Games.
The consolation-round match between the Filipinas and Kazakhs is set at 2:30 p.m. (3:30 p.m. in Manila) on Friday, August 31.
The Chinese shoved the Filipinas to the exit with a methodically easy 25-15, 25-9, 25-7 victory on Wednesday, the same night the Kazakhs fell to the Japanese, 25-16, 25-18, 25-21.
If the Philippine volleybelles beat the Kazakhs, they get a chance to fight for fifth place against the winner of the other consolation round match between host Indonesia and Vietnam also set on Friday.
A loss would relegate the Filipinas to a battle for seventh place.
China advanced to the Final Four against Japan, while reigning champion South Korea arranged a duel with Southeast Asian champion Thailand in the other semifinal pairing.
Zhu Ting, arguably the best and highest-paid player of this generation, delivered only five points in a very limited time on the floor, but just the same, the Chinese were still too strong and too dominant for the Filipinos to overcome.
So strong that China ended the match in less than an hour with 6-foot-6 Jaja Santiago serving as the lone bright spot with 12 kills, three blocks and an ace for the Philippine side that is looking to gain experience for the 30th Southeast Asian Games next year.
Philippine head coach Shaq delos Santos admitted that they were awed with how China played them.
“All I can say is that they played one heck of a match,” said Delos Santos, who obviously had a tough time matching the strategy of his counterpart, China’s legendary coach Jenny Lang Ping.
“They are very tall with a combination of speed, skills and talent. They are very smart on the court. It’s really an honor being on the opposite floor with them.”
Delos Santos reiterated that their aim is not to win the gold, but to gain experience they would need for the SEA Games, which the country will host next year.
The Philippine campaign in the Asiad included losses to Japan, Thailand and Indonesia – which went to four sets – and a lone win over lowly Hong Kong.
“For us, this is truly a great experience. I hope this inspires the team,” De los Santos said. “As I’ve told them, we don’t need to feel down. Instead, we have to be inspired because we’re learning whenever we play against these giants regardless of the results.” – Rappler.com