BINAN, Laguna — There's no doubt in Alyssa Valdez's mind that there's a force greater than talent that propelled the Philippines past favored Vietman on Monday night.
“Pusong Pilipino (ang nagdala) na hanggang ‘di natatapos ang laban, lumalaban talaga,” said the PH team star after the Philippines, ranked No. 79 in the world,stunned the Asian powerhouse, 27-25, 26-24, 17-25, 25-23, in the the 19th AVC Asian Women’s Senior Championship.
“Everyone inside the court, outside the court ‘yung mga fans, coaching staff nandoon ‘yung puso sa larong ‘to,” she added.
The Filipinas' big, fighting heart was in full display before a huge crowd at the Alonte Arena, twice battling back from 21-24 deficits then overcoming a third-set wobble to finish the match with a flourish in the next set.
Valdez stood at the forefront for Team Philippines.
The former UAAP MVP finished with a personal tournament-high 20 points and delivered all three winning moments for the hosts - a powerful attack to end the first set, back-to-back aces to wrap up the second set and the spike th cap the perfect combination play that clinched the win.
“Siguro tayo as Pilipino, as volleyball players, gusto nating ipamalas, ipakita uli sa buong mundo na paunti-unti, nag-ta-try tayo na lumalaban, para sa bayan,” said Valdez.
Vietnam crushed the Philippines, 25-16, 25-21, 25-23, in the pool stage of the 2015 Southeast Asian Games, where Vietnam eventually finished with a silver medal.
One week from now, the Philippines and Vietnam will again meet each other in the SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and Valdez said the team will be more confident heading to that encounter.
“Marami pang challenges, marami pang hard battles na kailangan (lampasan). But definitely, this win is a confidence booster, motivation and inspiration for us lalo na for the SEA Games.”