By Betheena Unite
The Philippine men’s volleyball team settled for silver after bowing down to Indonesia in three straight sets 25-21, 27-25, 25-17 Tuesday in the gold medal match of volleyball competition in the 30th Southeast Asian Games at the PhilSports Arena in Pasig City.
The nationals tried to keep up with the attacks and defense of the winningest team in the region by keeping the first two sets close but the Indonesians were too much for the Filipinos.
Indonesia’s early 5-0 run, catching the nationals off guard, became a preview of how they will defeat the home team in front of 6,500 spectators.
Down two sets, the Philippines could only rely on scattered scoring from their top gunners as Indonesia pulled away 22-14 and never looked back.
Marck Espejo and Bryan Bagunas with 15 and 11 points, respectively, still delivered the goods for the Philippines but lost steam against their nemesis.
Despite the loss, the nationals said winning the silver felt like winning the gold.
“Masasabi namin na sobrang tamis kahit hindi namin nakuha yung gold medal dahil siguro ito na yung binigay ni God sa’min na mas mataas pa doon sa ine-expect namin na makukuha namin ngayon,” skipper John Vic de Guzman said. “Siguro ang mas masarap sa pakiramdam is yung suporta ng lahat ng Pilipino.”
For Espejo, who led the team with 14 attacks and 16 receptions, Indonesia capitalized on height advantage and experience.
“Yung Indonesia talaga ang ginamit nila height and power and siguro mas lamang sila sa experience pero yun nga masaya pa rin kami even though natalo kami, alam namin sa sarili namin na ginawa namin yung best namin pero hanggang dito lang talaga yung kinaya namin,” Espejo said.
“Para sa akin panalo pa rin yung men’s volleyball team kasi ang layo na ng narating ng men’s volleyball team dito sa Pilipinas. Nagsimula kami sa UAAP na bilang mo lang yung mga tao… I hope we became instruments to inspire the younger generation para umangat yung men’s volleyball dito sa Pilipinas,” middle blocker Rex Intal, who tallied for nine points, said.
Doni Haryono and Rivan Nurmuluki paced the Indonesians with 20 and 17 points markers.