Aby Marano of Rebisco PSL Manila hammers a kill. (Photo courtesy of asianvolleyball.net)
UST-KAMENOGORSK, Kazakhstan — Rebisco PSL Manila rocked the usually composed Sarmayeh Bank of Iran all day long but suffered unlucky breaks down the stretch to lose 25-23, 25-17, 29-27, in the Asian Women’s Club Volleyball Championships Tuesday here.
Showing that it has all it takes to perform well in this level, the Philippine team put Iran on its toes, making gallant stand for the first and third frames only to fold up and absorb its fifth defeat.
But it’s not yet over for Rebisco PSL Manila which can duplicate the country’s best finish here of seventh place if it wins over either Vientin Bank of Vietnam on Wednesday.
The Philippines, backed here by Asics, Grand Sport and Turkish Airlines, were at set point twice in the third, 24-23 and 27-26, but each time allowed Iran to get back through errors.
Head coach Francis Vicente said the team’s spirit is there “but we need to work on many things, and this experience of playing a tight game at this level will surely help us along the way.”
Iran was leading 15-11 in the third when the Filipinos made a daring assault to tie it at 17. From there Jaja Santiago, Rachel Anne Daquis and Mika Reyes joined hands for one last stand.
Santiago’s hit to the corner made it 24-23 but the Filipinos committed and error and Mahsa Saberi scored an ace to turn the table.
Daquis’ off-speed attack shoved the Philippines to 27-26 but Iran fought back even harder, pounding the Filipino defenses for points off the blocks to preserve the win.
Santiago led Rebisco scoring with 14 points, all on crosscourt attacks that sowed fear on Iran’s defenders.
Daquis, the 29-year-old team captain, contributed 10 markers while Aby Marano helped up with nine points. Kim Fajardo made four points aside from issuing 57 excellent sets.
Jovelyn Gonzaga had two points while Reyes and Maika Ortiz chipped in one point each.
Sarmayeh was led by national player Esfehani Maedeh Borhani who scored 17 points while Kolaei Mahdien Khaje contributed 13 markers.
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