BINAN — Altay VC spoiled the return of Foton’s American import Lindsay Stalzer from a two game absence due to injury.
After sitting out with back spasms Stalzer returned to lead the Tornadoes in scoring, but the home squad still struggled against the Kazakh side on Wednesday, absorbing its second consecutive straight-sets loss and third defeat in a row in the 2016 AVC Asian Women’s Club Championship at the Alonte Sports Arena.
The Tornadoes needed a boost in the classification round to determine the quarterfinal pairings and Stalzer provided some spark.
Jaja Santiago and American reinforcement Ariel Usher each had 10 markers, but that simply wasn’t enough.
Altay VC earned its points mostly on attacks, 46-31, in a one hour and 41-minute match.
Kazakhstan finished second in Group E and will face the No. 3 of Group F in the knockout quarterfinals.
Sana Anarkulova scored 16 points for Altay VC, skipper Inna Matveyeva added 11 and Vanya Varbanova had 10 markers.
The Philippines now enter the quarterfinals on a three-match slide, but Usher isn’t feeling too
“I think that with this we could have been easily scared or upset about yesterday, there could be a lot of things that we put this loss on but we came together as a team,” said Usher.
“We played really hard against a much taller team but I think that we played our game against them and that’s really cool, that’s really fun,” she added.
Host team Foton Pilipinas got the upper hand, 20-16, in the first set before a couple of errors distracted the Filipinas as Altay VC gained momentum and snatched the lead, 24-23, en route to win the match and gain confidence.
Foton Pilipinas regrouped in the second set to take a slim lead, 14-13, but Altay VC made a 7-0 run to turn the table to its favor, 20-14. The Tornadoes threatened, 18-22, on a Santiago quick attack but Kazakhstan scored three straight points capped by Anarkulova’s back-to-back down the line attacks to win the set.
The Tornadoes could have forced to extend the match after Altay VC was given a red card, 21-23, in the third set but that did not stop Kazakhstan to win the match.
The Philippines dropped to the fourth spot of Group E and will face the winner of the match between defending champion Thailand and China.
Meanwhile, Santiago had to leave immediately after the match due to a semifinals game over at PhilSports Arena in Pasig City.
The 6-foot-5 middle blocker had to rush to make it to the 4:00 p.m. match of her mother team National University against University of the Philippines.