PH men’s volleyball team ends SEA Games podium hopes, bows to Cambodia to go 0-2
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine men’s volleyball team kissed its medal hopes goodbye as it fell to host Cambodia, 18-25, 18-25, 17-25, in the 32nd Southeast Asian Games before an ecstatic home crowd on Thursday evening at Indoor Olympic Stadium in Phnom Penh.
Even before the opening ceremonies on Friday, the Filipino spikers have already bombed out of podium contention as they couldn’t stop Pin Sarun and the Cambodians, who earned their second straight win in Pool A to join defending champion Indonesia in the semifinals.
Following an 18-25, 18-25, 23-25 loss to Indonesia on Wednesday, the rebuilding national team lost its second Group A match and missed the semifinals for the second straight time since its historic silver medal finish in 2019.
Sarun led the charge for Cambodia, which bagged a breakthrough bronze medal last year, as he dealt the damage to the visitors with 13 points including the last two kills in the third set that sent the home crowd into a wild celebration after the 77-minute match.
Mouen Menglaiy also shattered the hopes of the Filipinos as he poured five of his 12 points in the third set as Cambodia advanced to the semifinals for the second consecutive biennial meet with a 2-0 record in Group A, following a 25-14, 25-19, 25-20 win over Singapore on Wednesday.
“I know this is a hard game you played Cambodia it’s the (bronze medalist) in the SEA Games and we played (in front of a lot of their fans) in their home. But I think today our team played better than yesterday,” said national team coach Sergio Veloso.
Setter Suon Channaro paced the Cambodians’ offense, outplaying the Filipinos in attacking, 38-24. Phol Ratanak and Kuon Mom were also instrumental with eight and six markers, respectively. The host will wrap up its Group A campaign on Saturday against Indonesia, which also earned its second win earlier against Singapore, 29-27, 25-8, 25-10.
Jade Disquitado, the youngest member of the Philippines at age 18, was the lone bright spot for the rebuilding team with eight points, scoring five in the opening set.
The Philippines’ closest chance against Cambodia was when Lloyd Josafat nailed a block to tie the second set at 2-2. However, the home team caught fire and scored seven straight points for a 12-5 lead from Disquitado’s back-to-back errors and never looked back to take a 2-0 match advantage.
Disquitado and Jay Rack De La Noche kept the Cambodians within two midway third set, 10-12, but Menglaiy continued to torch the Filipinos as he was nearly unstoppable in the frame before Sarun put on the finishing touches.
Filipino-American Opposite Spiker Steve Rotter finished with seven points but committed a couple of attack and service errors in the match, while Spikers’ Turf reigning MVP Jau Umandal, the lone holdover of the historic 2019 team, was limited to just four points after a scoreless third set.
“Kulang kami sa end game. Yung error namin ng early lumalabas. Kami nahihirapan sa end game dahil dumadami error namin,” said Umandal.
“Yung aim pa rin namin manalo pa rin sa Singapore. Strong finish. Wala na kami sa top two pero kailangan namin makuha yung panalo kahit sa ranking match lang kagaya nung 2022 SEA Games. Wala kami sa top 2 pero top (5) pa rin kami.”
The rebuilding Philippine national team is relegated in the classification match for 5th to 8th places but it will end its Group A campaign against the winless Singapore on Saturday at 6 p.m.
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