Philippine women's volleyball team routs Malaysia, seals place in SEA Games semifinals
Aby Marano in action during the Philippines' three-set win over Malaysia. Jerome Ascano

KUALA LUMPUR - The Philippines debuted with an impressive 25-18, 25-11, 25-16 win over Malaysia on Thursday to clinch a place in the semifinals of the 29th Southeast Asian Games women's volleyball tournament.

The celebrated women's team started strongly at the jampacked Malaysia International Trade and Exhibition Centre Hall 11 and never looked back in an auspicious start to its Group B campaign.

With Malaysia falling to 0-2 in the preliminaries, the Philippines automatically advanced to the semifinals of the six-team field alongside group favorite Vietnam.

"We need to push more. Trabaho pa tayo. Hindi pa tayo puwedeng tumigil. We can't stop," said national coach Francis Vicente.

The Philippines next meets the reigning SEA Games silver medalist, which lost to the Filipina spikers during the Asian Senior Volleyball Championship in Manila.

Jaja Santiago led the Philippines in scoring with 13 points, 11 on attacks, while Aby Marano also contributed 11 points in the one-sided match.

Jovelyn Gonzaga scored nine points while Alyssa Valdez tallied eight points for the Philippine side.

The Philippines opened a 3-0 lead in the first set which it utterly dominated and was just as impressive in opening an 8-0 lead to start the second set.

With the 29th SEA Games happening in Malaysia this month, you can book your flight and hotel through Traveloka to support the team in Kuala Lumpur. For your all-in-one solution to your flight and hotel booking to Southeast Asian countries and other destinations, visit Traveloka.com

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