THE Philippine women’s national team bowed to Okayama Seagulls in an exhibition match Saturday, 22-25, 14-25, 21-25, 20-25, but has showed extreme improvement almost a week since coming over in the Japanese city.
The Pinay volleybelles were able to display what they’ve been working on training camp the past few days as team captain Mika Reyes toughened up on defense, Alyssa Valdez consistently sharp on her attacks and drop balls, Jaja Santiago scoring on strong kills, and setter Kim Fajardo making her teammates looked good.
“We're not yet perfect, but I'm glad that we're improving every time we play. We're still working hard to reach our goal,” said national team coach Francis Vicente.
Valdez and Santiago delivered the goods early in the match to give the nationals an 11-9 lead in the first set before the Seagulls soared ahead, 18-13.
The Philippines kept the game close, 5-5, in the second set, but the Japanese stepped on the gas to take the upper hand, 12-6.
The Pinays appeared ready to take a set after trailing the home team, 19-20, in the third set.
But the Seagulls, who compete in the Japan V. Premier League, still completed a three-set sweep of the Filipinas. Another set was played to make the game more interesting which the Japanese won.
Nonetheless, Reyes and the rest of the team held their heads high in front of a sprinkling of Filipino fans cheering for them.
“We're improving and we're very happy about it,” said the PH team skipper.