After a thrilling victory over Afghanistan, the Philippine men's national volleyball team faced a harsh reality check from Japan, the fifth-ranked team in the world, 19-25, 14-25, 23-25, at the 19th Asian Games held on Thursday at the Deqing Sports Centre Gymnasium in China.
This loss shattered the Filipinos' hopes of advancing to the Round of 12, concluding the tournament with a 1-2 win-loss record in Pool F.
Conversely, the Japanese team concluded the group phase with an impeccable 3-0 record, securing their spot in the final round alongside Indonesia, which had a commanding victory over Afghanistan earlier in the day.
During the first set, the Philippines managed to keep pace with Japan, trailing by only two points at 18-20 before stumbling in the later stages. Japan's Akihiro Fukatsu, Keihan Takahashi, and Kento Asano delivered a five-to-one finishing surge, granting Japan a 1-0 lead.
Unfortunately, in the second set, the Filipino team couldn't match the pace set by Japan, with the latter leading by as much as 11 points at 23-12 following an attack by Hiroto Nishiyama. Yudai Arai and Hiroto Nishiyama sealed the deal, bringing Japan to the brink of a clean sweep.
In the third set, Steve Rotter provided the Philippines with one last opportunity to extend the game by scoring four points during a heated 7-2 start. However, the team once again fell short, as Japan secured a 25-23 victory to complete the 3-0 sweep.