Philippine men’s volleyball squad bows to Indons, settles for SEA Games silver

Dante Navarro - Philstar.com
Philippine men�s volleyball squad bows to Indons, settles for SEA Games silver

MANILA, Philippines – Indonesia played the spoiler’s role to the Philippines’ crack at a historic men’s SEA Games volleyball gold, foiling the hosts with its power, combination plays and superb reception to fashion out a 25-21, 27-25, 25-17 victory before a disappointed crowd at the Philsports Arena in Pasig Tuesday night.

Bryan Bagunas and Marck Espejo and the rest dished out their very best — and even with the roaring crowd on their side, they just couldn’t neutralize the Indonesians’ firepower and near-impeccable floor defense and upfront and settled for the silver.

Still, it was a big achievement for the Pinoy spikers, who ended a 28-year podium spell since the Philippines captured the bronze in the 1991 Manila SEA Games. The runner-up finish also matched the country’s best in the Games after 42 years.

Thrust into the spotlight after shocking four-time defending champion Thailand in the semis, the Filipinos struggled in the early going, yielding the first five points to their more experienced rivals. Though they kept the game close in one stretch, the Indonesians simply regrouped and worked on their combo plays anchored on Rivan Nurmulki, Doni Haryono and Sigit Ardian to claim the four-point win.

The Pinoys actually settled down in the second and took control midway through but cracked when the going got tough although the Indonesians needed to go through a wringer to thwart their stubborn rivals.

Down two sets, the Nationals fumbled one after the other in the third, which the Indonesians took advantage of to build a comfortable lead halfway through then cruised to victory for their first gold in five SEAG editions.

It was an impressive campaign by Indonesia, which closed out the competition without dropping a set in five games.

Earlier, Thailand saved the bronze by disposing of Myanmar, 25-23, 25-16, 25-20.

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