PH team grateful for overwhelming support from home fans during Asian volleyball
The teamwork the Philippine team showed impressed not just the home crowd but the opposition as well. Jaime Campos

OVER the past eight days, the Philippine women’s volleyball team showed impressive teamwork that wowed not only the home crowd but also the opposition in the recently concluded 19th AVC Asian Senior Women’s Championship.

Coming from a 12th place finish in the 2015 edition in Tianjin, China, the Pinay spikers leapfrogged to the quarterfinals and improved to eighth place in the tournament held at the Alone Sports Arena in Binan, Laguna.

“As I always say, I’m very proud of them. Hindi sila natakot, lagi silang lumalaban, kahit na three sets, four sets,” said Philippine coach Francis Vicente.

The nationals started the tournament with a smashing straight-set victory over Hong Kong in the pool stage before they put up a gallant stand that fell short against a much-taller Kazakhstan team.

Although the team also lost to Korea, the Philippines pushed the Koreans to the limit and forced them to field in superstar and eventual first best outside spiker Kim Yeon Koung in all of the three sets played in the second round.

Armed with determination and grit, the Philippine team also notched an astounding feat in toppling 2015 Southeast Asian Games silver medalist Vietnam, 27-25, 26-24, 17-25, 25-23.

The Philippines bowed to the mighty Thailand, the 10-time SEA Games defending champion, but the Pinays earned the respect of Thai skipper Pleumjit Thinkaow.

The home team finished eighth in the tournament after a brave stand against Chinese Taipei and Kazakhstan in the classification phase.

“Ang sarap lang ng feeling na ganoon pala kami tini-treat ng mga kalaban namin na they also respect us na hindi na katulad ng dati na Philippines lang ‘yan. (Ngayon) Philippines ‘yan, may laban 'yan,” said team captain Mika Reyes.

For Reyes, the tournament also served to unify conflicting volleyball fans to support one cause.

“Ang sarap talaga maglaro for the country kasi nakikita mo 'yung mga supporters nag-u-unite sila,” she said.

“(Kahit) from iba’t-bang (club) teams kami nakikita mo lahat sila sumisigaw ng iisa lang na hindi nag-aaway, sila lumalaban sila kasama namin,” she added.

Watch the overwhelming fan support that had the PH team grateful after an impressive stint in the Asian women’s volleyball meet.

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