Giddy PH caught flat-footed vs. fast and furious Japan
Fresh from pulling off a stunning upset three-set win vs. World No. 19 Kazakhstan, the Philippines had a hard time receiving Japan’s ultra fast service and attacks and finding the right angle for their hits.
“The girls were more excited today. They were too excited,” PH Coach Roger Gorayeb said of his wards.
“They (Japanese) are tall and fast. Sana we could play like them in the future. How I wish we could play them everyday so that we can learn,” Gorayeb added.
PH team captain Alyssa Valdez, who finished with 15 points, was the only one who managed to pierce Japan’s methodical floor defense largely because she can vary her offense from a backrow kill, a powerful spike or a drop ball.
“All I can say is we are lucky to play Japan. We learned a lot from them,” Valdez, who has been visibly more vocal in giving instructions to her teammates as the tournament progresses, pointed out.
“The odds were against us. Win or lose, we are one team: Team Philippines! #LabanPilipinas @tinagno1 @ennajielauree @marivicmeneses @etchel05+,” Valdez then tweeted minutes after their loss.
The Philippines tried to mount a comeback in the third set and actually led, 8-5, on successive quick middle hits by the six-foot-four Jaja Santiago. Nerves, however, got in the way of the inexperienced unit that resulted in a 9-12 deficit.
Since then, Japan never looked back.
“POWERHOUSE JPN just dealt PHI a lopsided beating that somehow felt good. Hope springs for PH,” Inquirer sportswriter Marc Reyes tweeted.
“JPN is teaching PHI how to play clean and calculated which suits Asian teams like us,” Reyes added in closing.