By Betheena Unite
The Philippine men’s volleyball team suffered its first loss in the 30th Southeast Asian Games after succumbing to Indonesia 25-23, 32-30, 25-20 Friday night at the Philsports Arena in Pasig City.
The nationals fell prey to Indonesia’s stringent defense as the Bryan Bagunas-led team failed to end the preliminary round on a high note.
Indonesia, the 2017 SEA Games silver medalist, was a force to reckon with on the net, denying the Philippines’ attacks with a10-1 block points advantage.
Ironically, it was the nationals’ weapon in winning their previous games.
“Talagang nagkulang lang yung team kanina sa laro kasi nawala yung communication namin sa isa’t isa lalo na yung blockings namin. Halos wala kaming na-block ngayon game, parang nawala yung defense namin kaya siguro kami nahirapan sa game na ‘to, and yung service and receive namin medyo nahirapan din kami,” Bagunas said.
The Filipino spikers, down by two sets, started the third frame on the right footing, using a 5-0 run to open a 15-10 lead.
But the Indonesians rallied 19-all and it was downhill from there for the Philippines.
“Talagang breaks of the game. May mga nangyayari na hindi natin inaasahan saka kung titingnan natin talagang matibay ang Indonesia. Talagang pinag-aralan din kami,” national team captain John Vic de Guzman said.
Bagunas, who Mark Espejo tagged as the go-to guy of the team, led the Philippine squad with 24 points, all from attack.
Espejo contributed 17 attack points.
The Indonesian rally was powered by the trio of Rivan Nurmukli, Doni Haryono and Sigit Ardian, who exploded for 24, 18, and 13, respectively.
Both teams, however, are already assured of a semifinals slot after finishing as the top 2 teams in Group B.