KUALA LUMPUR - The Philippines bowed to Vietnam, 26-24, 25-12, 25-23, on Friday at the end of its preliminary campaign in the 29th Southeast Asian Games women's volleyball tournament.
The Filipina spikers lost a close first set and blew a late lead in the third against a Vietnam side that was eager to avenge a loss to the Philippines in the Asian Women's Volleyball Championships in Manila.
The Filipinos dropped to 1-1 in Group B behind unbeaten Vietnam ended up in a showdown with powerhouse Thailand in the crossover semifinals.
The match against the unbeaten Thais will be played on Saturday, 10 a.m., at the Malaysia International Trade and Exhibition Centre.
Alyssa Valdez topscored for the Philippines with 11 points at the head of the Filipinas' attack, but her effort was not enough as they let leads in the first and third sets disappear.
"Mukhang hindi sila gigil manalo pero lumalaban, 'yung finishing touches lang, nawawala," said national coach Francis Vicente. "Nandoon na tayo, biglang nawawala. Maybe naghihintay ng error. Pero they did their best."
The Philippines took an early 8-2 lead and were still ahead, 16-12, in the third set before Vietnam got going, thanks to the power attack of Tran Thi Thanh Thuy, who finished the match with 14 points.
Tran also led Vietnam's attack after the Philippines took a 10-8 lead in the first set. The Philippines was able to save two set points after trailing, 24-22, but Vietnam responded by scoring the next two points.
Jaja Santiago added 10 points for the Philippines while Jovelyn Gonzaga contributed seven points.