Philippines ends Asian U23 campaign with a bang, takes seventh place with straight-sets win over Iran
The Philippines, formed just three weeks before opening day, comes up with a fine performance in the Asian joust. Czeasar Dancel

THE Philippines salvaged seventh place with a 25-15, 25-21, 26-24 victory over Iran on Saturday in the 2015 Asian Under-23 Women’s Volleyball Championship at the Philsports Arena.

The Filipinas had to survive tense moments in the third set when Iran moved up, 22-24, before pulling off the win against the same team that beat them in the preliminaries.

The Philippines tied the match at 24 from a service error by Iran and Alyssa Valdez’s through the block attack before sealing the vengeful win on Jaja Santiago's back-to-back quick attacks.

“We had enough rest yesterday so we are a bit stronger today,” said Philippines coach Roger Gorayeb after the hosts finished the tournament with two wins against four losses.

“Before the start of the game I told my players we want to end this competition by winning this game. Whoever we will face for seventh or eighth place we have to win. It’s for the fans and for the people of the Philippines,” he added.

Valdez was thrilled to finish the tournament on a winning note.

“We’re really happy that we won the game,” said Valdez. “We (knew we) should focus and enjoy the game and it’s a great day for volleyball in the Philippines.”

Iran fought back from 14-19 down in the third, using a 10-3 run to reach set point, 24-22, but the Philippines managed to claw its way back.

“The other team will never surrender,” said Gorayeb. "This is an international competition, their hearts are strong.”

“They also want to win, they want to get one set,” he added. “But the girls are really pumped up today and we really want to win this game.”

Neda Chamlanian finished with 10 points for Iran, which settled for eighth place.

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