In a highly anticipated semifinal match at the 32nd Southeast Asian Games, the Philippine women's national volleyball team showcased their tenacity against the defending champions, Thailand, on Saturday at the Olympic Complex Indoor Main Hall.
Although the Filipinas started strong, their valiant efforts were eventually quelled by a dominant Thai squad, resulting in a 22-25, 9-25, 12-25 defeat.
From the outset, it was evident that the Philippine team had come prepared to challenge the reigning champions. Tots Carlos, one of the team's prominent players, electrified the crowd with a searing cross-court attack that leveled the score at 22-all in the opening set.
Despite leading by three points early on, the Filipinas were unable to maintain their advantage as Thailand staged a late comeback, securing three consecutive points to snatch the set away.
Determined to avoid a repeat of their first-set setback, Thailand burst out of the gates in the second set with a blistering 16-3 start. The Thai squad's powerful attacks and impenetrable defense overwhelmed their opponents, establishing a commanding 2-0 lead in the match.
The Filipinas fought hard to regain their footing in the third set, but Thailand's relentless pressure proved insurmountable.
Led by Pimpichaya Kokram's piercing attacks that pierced through the Filipina blockers, Thailand surged to an 11-point advantage at 21-10.
From there, the defending champions never looked back, confidently sealing the victory and remaining undefeated throughout the tournament.
Now, the Filipinas must turn their attention to the bronze medal match, where they will go head-to-head against the loser of the Indonesia-Vietnam semifinal clash.