Kazakhstan salvages seventh as Philippines settles for eighth place in Asian volleyball
Kazakhstan beats the Philippines for the second time in the tournament. Jaime Campos

BINAN, Laguna — Kazakhstan defeated the Philippines, 25-20, 25-16, 21-25, 21-25, 15-3, on Thursday to salvage seventh spot in the 19th AVC Asian Women’s Senior Championship at Alonte Sports Arena.

It was the Filipinas’ second loss to the Kazakhs in the tournament, but they did much better this time.

Jovelyn Gonzaga, Jaja Santiago and Alyssa Valdez pushed harder, while Kim Dy made her presence felt as the Filipinas finished eighth, four notches higher than in the 2015 edition in China.

Santiago scored 18, Valdez wound up with 11 and Gonzaga had 10 points in the two-hour and seven-minute match.

Coach Francis Vicente downplayed the final ranking, reiterating that the main focus was making the top eight and sealing a place in next year’s AVC Asian Volleyball Cup.

“As I’ve said kung tayo pumwesto, or tayo nanalo ulit (sa classification), bonus na ’yun pag pumunta tayo ng seventh, sixth or fifth,” said Philippine coach Francis Vicente.

“Ang importante pumasok tayo sa top eight para mag qualify for next year sa AVC Asian Volleyball Cup. 'Yun ang pinakaimportante because it gives us more exposure sa international arena,” he added.

The score tied at 20 in the third, Gonzaga on a spike followed by a crosscourt hit from Dy and a Valdez spike.

The Philippines again scored on a Kazakhstan miscue and Dy ended the set with a service ace. The Filipinas sustained the momentum in the fourth set but simply did not have enough in the fifth.

“Kinapos siguro (pero) at least nag-five sets tayo, pinrove natin na kaya pala natin ’tong mga ‘to,” said Vicente.

“So kailangan lang natin pumukpok pa sa ensayo, push pa natin ang sarili natin para gumaling,” he added.

The Philippines matched its eighth place finish in the 2003 Ho Chi Minh edition also losing to Kazakhstan in the classification match.

Yetakerina Zhdanova scored 24 points for Kazakhstan, while Tatko added 15 and skipper Radmila Beresneva and Alla Bogdashkina scored 14 apiece.

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