The Philippine Women's National Volleyball Team opened its 31st Southeast Asian Games campaign on a stellar note, sweeping Malaysia, 25-14, 25-20, and 25-15, Friday at the Dai Yen Arena in Quang Ninh, Vietnam.
Chery Tiggo's Jaja Santiago, the 2021 PVL Open Conference Most Valuable Player, was on a whole other level in the contest. Santiago could not be hindered by the Malaysian blockers while also displaying excellent net defense all throughout.
Also impressive was Creamline setter Kyle Negrito as she steered the national team to its first win in the biennial meet since 2017.
After a dominant first set, the Filipinas raced to an 8-1 second set start before the Malaysians rallied back, gaining a 17-14 lead.
It was there when 2022 PVL Finals MVP Alyssa Valdez, Kat Tolentino, and Santiago stopped the bleeding and led the squad in a 6-2 run to regain control.
Eventually, reigning best blocker Ria Meneses and Ces Molina -- both of whom play for Cignal -- put the finishing touches.
From there, the PWNVT dominated the third set.
Up next for the Philippines is reigning champion Thailand on Saturday at 3:00PM.