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Philippines wastes bronze medal chance as Vietnam escapes marathon match


The Philippines absorbed a stinging, 25-22, 25-21, 18-25, 23-25, 10-15, loss to Vietnam for a fruitless run in the first leg of the Southeast Asian Volleyball League Sunday night at the Padepokan Voli Jendral Polisi Kunarto in Jakarta, Indonesia.

Steve Rotter saw his 29-point effort go into naught as the Filipino spikers witnessed their two-set lead evaporate and allowed the Vietnamese to walk away with the bronze medal.

The Nationals finished their campaign winless in three outings. The Philippines earlier bowed to Indonesia and Thailand, who are still playing for the gold medal as of posting time, in straight sets.

A confident Vietnamese side raced to a 5-1 lead in the fifth set ad kept the Filipinos at bay throughout the decider to score its first win in the regional volleyball meet that came at the most important time.

The Philippines will host the second leg to be held at Sta. Rosa in Laguna from 28 to 30 July.

Rotter, Noel Kampton and Jau Umandal led the early onslaught of the Philippines, which looked ready to step on the podium after two sets.

However, the Vietnamese had other plans in mind as top hitter Pham Van Hiep rallied his troops back from a 9-10 deficit in the third frame to a 19-14 lead after an off the block kill.

A net touch error was called on the Nationals that gave Vietnam setpoint advantage, 24-16. The Filipinos saved two set points only to falter.

The Nationals played catch up in the fourth set and were down, 22-24, after Hiep’s hit. Rotter tried to delay Vietnam’s match comeback but a cross by Hiep put the game into a decider.

Vietnam created enough separation in the fifth set to frustrate the exhausted Pinoy spikers, who never came closer than three points in the frame.

Jau Umandal got 16 points, Kampton had seven while Lloyd Josafat and Kim Malabunga made five each for the Nationals.

Hiep led Vietnam with 22 points.

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