BINAN, Laguna — The Philippines underlined its readiness for the Southeast Asian Games by claiming the scalp of regional power Vietnam, 27-25, 26-24, 17-25, 25-23, in the quarterfinals classification of the 19th AVC Asian Women’s Senior Championship.
Alyssa Valdez and Jaja Santiago led a courageous performance by the Filipinas, who also got solid defense from middle blockers Maika Ortiz and Aby Marano and impeccable floor defense from Dawn Macandili to bring down the 2015 SEA Games silver medalists.
The high-flying Valdez anchored the hosts' offense, scoring 20 points including the spike down the middle off a perfectly executed play that clinched one of the biggest victories in recent years for the national team.
With the win, the Philippines finished the classification phase with a 1-2 (win-loss) record in Pool E and set up a showdown with Southeast Asia's top team, Thailand, in the crossover quarterfinals on Tuesday.
Thailand, the long-reigning SEA Games champion, finished as the second seed from Pool F.
More than the ideal placing, the win should be a boost of confidence for this team that will be kept intact for the SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur, where it will be vying for a return to the podium against the likes of Thailand and Vietnam.
The hosts battled back from 21-24 deficits in each of the first two sets and, after wavering in the third, held strong after Vietnam fought back from 20-24 down to come within a point in the fourth.