BINAN — They were one player down with import Lindsay Stalzer out due to back spasms, but Italian coach Fabio Menta said Foton Pilipinas ‘got soft’ in the endgame and Vietnam was ‘more disciplined.’
Foton looked set to complete a sweep of group play but squandered a set lead and bowed in five to the Vietnamese team, 25-18, 19-25, 20-25, 25-12, 15-8, Sunday in the AVC Asian Women’s Club Championship.
“Maybe we got soft in the fourth set, Vietnam was the more disciplined team in the fourth set down two one they only had one choice they only have to play hard,” said Menta.
“We knew they are coming back hard, we gave them a chance and we slowly collapsed.”
With its straights sets win over Kwai Tsing, Foton Pilipinas still advances to the quarterfinals but skipper Jaja Santiago admitted the squad is lacking consistency ahead of the round of eight.
“Vietnam gave us a tough game and nagkulang din kami sa consistency, ‘yun ang nawala doon,” said Foton Pilipinas skipper Jaja Santiago.
“Kailangan pa namin i-polish ‘yun and good experience ‘to para sa amin, they gave us a good experience.”
Do Thi Minh led the way for Thongtin Lien Post Bank with 29 points on 22 kills, five blocks and two service aces.
Tran Thi Thao and Tran Ton Nu Ly Linh combined for 25 markers for the Vietnamese, who were never distracted by cheers from the home crowd.
Vietnam had only a small advantage on attacks, 58-53, but had more points on blocks, 15-9.
Thongtin Lien Post Bank looks to sweep the group stage as it faces Kwai Tsing of Hong Kong on Monday.
The Vietnamese took an 18-8 lead in the fourth and evened the match before sealing the five-set win.
American import Ariel Usher scored 20 points for Foton Pilipinas, while Jovelyn Gonzaga added 16 and Santiago chipped in with 13.
It is uncertain when Stalzer can get back in action.