BINAN CITY - Foton Pilipinas was hoping for nothing less than a miracle against powerhouse Chinese side Ba'yi Shenzheng on Friday afternoon.
The tall, powerful Chinese club team proved much too good for Foton Pilipinas in a 25-16, 25-18, 25-14 victory that ended the host's title bid in the AVC Asian Women's Club Championship at the Alonte Sports Arena.
Liu Yan Han led the way for Ba’yi Shenzheng with 19 points, anchored on 16 kills, while Chen Yao added 12 and Wang Yun Lu and Wang Qi chipped in11 markers apiece.
China will face the winner of the match between Sarmayeh Bank of Iran and Altay VC of Kazakhstan on Saturday.
“I think we played well today and we prepared for this game and now every game is very important for us,” said Liu, who also led China to the championship of the Asian U23 in Manila last year.
“We hope we can get another gold (medal) here in the Philippines,” she added.
Ba’yi Shenzheng had 46 kills compared to Foton Pilipinas’ 25 attacks, China imposed its might at the net and scored on thrice as many blocks as the Philippines (9-3) and had six more service aces (8-2).
Foton Pilipinas threatened early in the match but slowly collapsed in the third set when Ba’yi Shenzheng cruised to an 8-3 lead. American import Lindsay Stalzer took charge in a 6-3 spurt to keep Foton within striking distance, 9-11.
But Ba’yi Shenzheng countered with a run of seven successive points to pull away, 18-9.
Stalzer made nine points, from eight hits and one block, for Foton Pilipinas, which fell to the classification phase for the fifth to eighth places against the loser of the game between Sarmayeh Bank of Iran and Altay VC of Kazakhstan.
“I’m proud of the way we fought. China is a very disciplined team, their basic skills are very flawless and we were lacking in that area but I’m just proud of the fight but we didn’t execute the plan,” said Stalzer after Foton's fourth straight loss.
Despite the loss, Ba’yi Shenzheng coach Yu Jue Min commended the Philippines for its performance.
“The Philippines played well today and they are very good in the first and second set, for me the best player for today in the Philippines is the libero,” said Yu as interpreted by Liu.