NAKHON RATCHASIMA, Thailand – The Philippine team failed to sustain a fiery start and yield a four-set loss to Iran, its second straight in the 17th Asian Women’s Volleyball Championship at the Lipatapalop Hall here.
Relentless with both digging and receiving, the Power Pinays frustrated the Iranians by forcing them to commit multiple errors to take the opening set of the match.
But the Middle East country was quick to regroup, completing a sweep of the next three sets to pull off a 25-19, 20-25, 18-25, 15-25 win, its first in the meet following a three-set loss to top team China on opening day (25-11, 25-16, 25-17).
The loss gave the Power Pinays an 0-2 record in Pool B, quashing their hopes of making the quarterfinal phase as they are now relegated in the classification phase of the biennial tournament.
India dealt the Power Pinays a 25-22, 26-24, 25-12 beating in its first game back in the meet Friday after an eight-year absence.
The Filipina spikers, whose participation here is supported by PLDT HOME Fibr broadband, end their preliminary round schedule with a showdown against 12-time winner and defending champion China late Sunday night.
Compounding the woes of the Power Pinays was the sprained ankle suffered by team captain Angeli Tabaquero in the second set and the team still fighting tooth and nail with the Iranians.
“Mali ang bagsak. Na-sprain,” said the 29-year-old communication arts graduate from University of Santo Tomas of her injury.
Tabaquero, who led the team with 13 points, all from spikes, valiantly returned in the third set to the cheers of the Filipino community here who supported the Power Pinays.
The Iranians though, were unfazed and never allowed the Filipinas to get back in the game, which they won in one hour and 49 minutes.
Despite the loss, PH team coach Nes Pamilar was more than satisfied with how the Power Pinays kept in step with their eight-ranked opponent.
“Naging organized sila sa blocking at sa reception, kaya para sa akin maganda ang ipinakita nila,” he said.
Honey Rose Tubino and Aiza Mazo added 12 and 11, in a losing cause for the Power Pinays.
Iran head coach Mitra Shabanian admitted underestimating their 16-ranked foe from the Philippines.
“Our players were not serious (that’s why we lost the first set),” she said. “And add to that the Philippines’ good digging and receiving.”
Borhaniesfahan Maedeh led the Iranians with 12 points on 10 attacks and two blocks.
Other Day 2 results: Kazakhstan over Mongolia (25-22, 25-16, 25-9), Thailand won over Australia (25-16, 25-17, 25-14), Japan beat Indonesia (25-6, 25-11, 25-9), Taipei defeated Myanmar (25-10, 25-10, 25-17), and Korea swept Sri Lanka (25-8, 25-6, 25-7).