Petron ends group stage campaign in Asian Club Championship with yet another loss
Dindin Santiago-Manabat carried the fight for Petron against unbeaten Zhejiang of China.

POWERHOUSE Zhejiang of China dealt Petron another loss, 25-14, 25-16, 25-20, at the end of the group stage of the 2015 AVC Asian Women's Club Volleyball Championship late Wednesday at the Ha Nam Competition Hall, Phu Ly, Vietnam.

Ying Li finished with 11 points while Yunyun Bao chipped in 10 markers for the Chinese, who are looking to knock the crown off the head of reigning champion Hisamitsu Springs of Japan.

Zhejiang, the reigning champion in the Chinese Volleyball League, dominated the Blaze Spikers from start to finish in a match that took an hour and two minutes to complete and remain unscathed in the meet which serves as qualifier in the FIVB World Women's Club Volleyball Championship next year.

Zhejiang raced to a quick 7-1 start to crush the morale of the Blaze Spikers early in the match and continued to dictate the tempo until the second set.

Dindin Santiago-Manabat sparked a late Petron charge in the third set to take the upper hand, 7-6, before Wang Hiumin took over for the Chinese entering the first technical timeout, 8-7. 

Zhejiang never looked back as Wang and Yuezhou Zhu connived to keep the Chinese ahead, 23-19, before Wang delivered the match point with a beautiful kill from the middle to seal the victory.

The Chinese will enter the quarterfinals on top of Pool B together with Taiwan Power, which also emerged undefeated in Pool A.

The Blaze Spikers, who only bagged a win in four games in the pool play, are set to face the dangerous Taiwanese in the knockout quarterfinals at 2 pm on Friday.

“The road to a better finish gets tougher from here,” said Petron coach George Pascua, who is using this tournament as part of the Blaze Spikers' preparation for the Philippine Superliga Grand Prix which starts on Oct. 10 at the Alonte Sports Arena in Binan, Laguna.

“The Chinese were too tall, too strong for us to handle. We may have lost the game, but it was a good experience for us. Now, our mission is to win in the quarterfinals and classification phase to somehow come up with a better finish.”

Santiago-Manabat served as the lone bright spot for the Blaze Spikers with 14 points.

Brazilian import Rupia Inck Furtado continued to struggle with only seven hits while Frances Molino, Rachel Anne Daquis, and Aby Marano were quiet offensively as they finished with a combined eight points.  

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