THE Philippines started its second round campaign on the wrong foot, bowing to Japan, 25-12, 25-18, 25-15, on Monday in the 2015 Rebisco Asian Under-23 Women’s Volleyball Championship at the Philsports Arena.
The Filipina spikers were totally outclassed in the first two sets and saw a brave stand in the third set nipped in the bud by the taller Japanese who also pounced on several errors by the hosts.
The nationals slipped to a 0-2 (win-loss) mark in the second round, where results of matches against teams eliminated at the end of the preliminaries no longer count in the race for the top seedings in the quarterfinals.
With the defeat, the Philippines is now in danger of falling to the bottom two spots in Pool E which will mean a quarterfinal match-up against the top two squads in Pool F, which could either be China, Thailand, or Korea.
Jaja Santiago pumped life into the Philippine squad after helping the team grab an 8-5 in the third set. But Japan was just too strong, taking eight of the next nine points to regain control.
Alyssa Valdez finished with 15 points while Santiago added seven for the Filipinas, which nonetheless relished the experience of playing a strong team like Japan in the country's return to the international scene after a long absence.
“All I can say is we are lucky to play Japan,” said Valdez. “They have experience in terms of international level. Super happy lang kami na nakalaro namin sila.”
“We are happy to play them,” said national head coach Roger Gorayeb. “Sana we could play like them in the future. How I wish we can play them everyday so that we can learn from them.”
Misaki Yamauchi and Kaori Mabashi each had eight points to lead a balanced scoring attack for Japan, which hiked its record to 2-0.