NAKHON RATCHASIMA, Thailand – Powerhouse China proved too much to handle against an undermanned Philippine side as the defending champions handed the Power Pinays a third straight loss, 25-9, 25-10, 25-8, in the 17th Asian Women’s Volleyball Championship late Sunday night at The Mall Nakhon Ratchasima Hall here.
The Power Pinays ended their preliminary assignments in Pool B with a 0-3 record and are now relegated in the classification phase for 9th to 16th place where they are bunched with India, Sri Lanka, and Myanmar in Pool H.
The Filipina spikers carry with them a 0-1 record in the next round since they’ve already met and lost to India in the preliminary. They need to beat both Sri Lanka and Myanmar to stay in contention for 9th to 12th place.
They first meet Sri Lanka on Monday night followed by Myanmar on Tuesday.
Playing their third straight game, the Power Pinays’ situation was compounded even more by injuries to team captain Angeline Tabaquero and Rosemarie Vargas, who both failed to suit up against China.
“Gustong maglaro, siyempre China, gusto niya ma-experience,” said team physician Raul Alcantara of Tabaquero, who sprained her ankle in the game against Iran Saturday. “But we didn’t want to risk it. We don’t want it to get worse.”
Iloilo pride Aiza Maizo-Pontillas carried the fight for the PLDT HOME Fibr broadband-supported Power Pinays with 10 points on nine attacks and a single service, while Honey Royse Tubino had four points – all from spikes.
But the Chinese – 12-time winner of the meet – were just too tall and too experience for the underdog Filipinas, who nonetheless had become one of the crowd darlings here owing to their gutsy plays and big fighting heart.
Even Chinese coach Lang Ping noticed the potential of the 16th-ranked Power Pinays.
“Their passing was really good. In time, they will improve,” she said.
Philippine head coach Nestor Pamilar complimented the Power Pinays for their all-out effort despite the obvious advantages the Chinese had in height, experience, and cohesion.
“Nakita naman natin pag pinapaluan sila, naitataas nila,” he said. “Maliban sa malakas yung kabila, kulang lang talaga sa kumpiyansa ang mga bata.”
“But we’ll get there. With hard work, we will.”
Pamilar also commended ace libero Lizlee Ann Gata-Pantone for doing wonders for the team.
“Kahapon ko pa plano gamitin si Tatan (Gata) against Iran. Kaso hindi pinayagan maglaro dahil walang picture yung official ID niya,” he said. “Kasi ang habol ko `yung mabilis ang galaw, and she proved na siya yun.”