Liu-led China side is one team we can emulate, says Philippine star Alyssa Valdez
China skipper Liu Yanhan led her team to a four-set win over host Philippines. Dante Peralta

ALYSSA Valdez had a colorful way of describing the force of China team captain Liu Yanhan’s attacks.

“Para kaming binabaril kanina sa sobrang lakas,” said Valdez grinning.

Valdez and a Philippine team returning to international competition after a decade-long absence got a taste of how it is to play against the world's best when they took on China in the Asian Under-23 Women's Volleyball Championship quarterfinals on Thursday night.

The hosts put China on the back foot by winning the first set, but the Chinese soon imposed their will in the next three to wrap up a 23-25, 25-14, 25-18, 25-17 victory and move on to the Final Four.

China is the defending world champion in the Under-23 tournament, having beaten Dominican Republic two years ago with Liu leading the way for the powerhouse squad.

Valdez said China is one team the Filipinas can emulate.

“’Yung mga palo nila, buwis buhay na sila. Hindi na namin kinaya. ‘Yung fighting spirit nila, sobra. Definitely, maganda ‘yung combination nila as a team at ‘yung killer instinct nila,” said the Ateneo star.

“As a player, they are someone na you could look up to,” Valdez said.

Valdez said she was happy for the chance to test their skills against the world's best, saying the experience will go a long way for the national team.

“I think we really have to commend my teammates today for a job well done. Kahit papaano, lumabas ‘yung palo, nagkaka-cramps na nga ‘yung iba,"

"But we still fought together and I think that’s the essence of volleyball — to play as a team — kaya kami nanalo sa first set. Pero marami kaming elementary errors against China. We really have to work hard pa,” said Valdez.

She also felt the Filipinas gained China's respect with the shock first-set win.

“Rinespeto rin tayo ng China after getting one set,” Valdez said.

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