TOKYO — Philippine men’s volleyball team settled for draw with Tsukuba United, 24-26, 25-21, 25-21, 17-25, on Friday night at the Matsushiro elementary school gym.
Coming off a three-set loss to Saitama Azalea last Thursday, the Nationals showed marked improvement and better communication inside the court to salvage two sets against another Division 2 team.
“Yung sistema talaga (gumana) kasi kanina bago kami maglaro nag-viewing kami, pinakita namin sa kanila kung ano yung ginalaw nila kahapon,” said national coach Dante Alinsunurin.
“Pagdating ngayon na-address naman 'yung gusto naming mangyari kasi kahit papaano naging maganda yung communication nila,” he added.
The Philippines squandered a set point in the opening frame, 24-23, as Sun Gaia scored three unanswered points to help the hosts draw first blood.
The Pinoy Spikers got their acts together as Marck Espejo, Johnvic De Guzman, Ranran Abdilla, Kim Malabunga, Francis Saura, Ish Polvorosa and libero Ricky Marcos combined to win back-to-back sets.
“Si Marck nagiging leader na sa loob ng court. Importante talaga na meron talagang kakayahang mag-lead sa loob ng court,” Alinsunurin said. “Nagampanan naman niya yung sinasabi namin sa kanya sana magtuloy-tuloy lang.”
However, the Nationals got roughed up in the fourth set with substitutes Joshua Umandal, Joshua Retamar, Rex Intal and Jack Kalingking joining Espejo, Abdilla and Malabunga trying to hold the fort.
“Sa fourth set kasi kailangan ko talaga makita yung players ko kung ano pa yung adjustment na pwede pa mangyari. Kailangan ko rin itaya yung second six ko,” Alinsunurin said.
The tune-up match ended a draw as the host team requested to play only four sets as the gym was only reserved until 10 pm.
Philippines plays its third straight tune-up match against Fujitsu Red Spirits on Saturday afternoon at the Fujitsi Kawasaki Gym — an hour and a half travel from its hotel.