STA. ROSA, Laguna — Alyssa Valdez made an impressive Asean Grand Prix debut as the Philippine volleyball team dismantled Vietnam, 25-21, 25-23, 25-21 on Friday at the Sta. Rosa Multi-purpose Gym.
After missing the first leg in Thailand due to right ankle injury, Valdez led the Philippines to an emphatic win over a Vietnamese side that played without star Thi Thanh Thuy Tran, who has a commitment in the Japan V.Premier League.
Valdez shone in front of her loud and proud home fans as the Filipina spikers asserted their mastery of the Vietnamese, duplicating their five-set victory that clinched their bronze medal finish in the first leg two weeks ago.
However, Valdez and other Premier Volleyball League players Jia Morado, Jovelyn Gonzaga and Maddie Madayag are going to miss the Philippines’ match against powerhouse Thailand on Saturday due to PVL matches in Iloilo City.
Valdez finished with a game-high 14 points on12 attacks and a pair of aces laced with six excellent receptions as she made up for the absence of Kalei Mau and Alohi Robins-Hardy in the Southeast Asian Games test event.
“Malaking bagay kasi alam naman natin kung paano siya maglaro. Alam naman natin ang quality ng laro niya so ang laking tulong,” said national coach Shaq Delos Santos on Valdez.
“Nakakatuwa kasi sobrang ganda gumalaw nung team. Talagang tulung-tulong kahit anong mangyari kahit nagkaka-error.”
Mylene Paat put the finishing touches to the second and third sets to finish with 13 points, the same production of Ces Molina, while Majoy Baron provided three of the team’s nine blocks.
Ace setter Jia Morado tallied 17 excellent sets on top of 10 digs and four markers, while libero Dawn Macandili took care of the floor with 22 digs and 11 excellent receptions.
“Nakaka-proud 'yung team,” Delos Santos said. “ Yung puso na ipinakita ng mga players knowing na yung preparation hindi ganoon katagal pero nakakatuwa kasi pinu-push talaga nila ang sarili nila.“
However, Valdez and other Premier Volleyball League players Jia Morado, Jovelyn Gonzaga and Maddie Madayag are going to miss the Philippines’ match against powerhouse Thailand on Saturday due to their matches in Iloilo City.
Thi Kieu Trinh Hoang led Vietnam with 14 points while Tu Linh Tran and skipper Bui Thi Nga added 10 and eight markers, respectively.
The team remained winless in four games since the first leg.