September 19, 2023

Philippines dealt heartbreaker to open Asiad campaign

In a highly anticipated return to the Asian Games, the Philippine men's national volleyball team faced a tough challenge as they clashed with regional rivals, Indonesia, at the Deqing Sports Centre Gymnasium in Huzhou, China.


Despite putting up a valiant effort and keeping the competition close, the Filipino spikers couldn't secure the win, ultimately falling to Indonesia in a three-set battle. The scores were 22-25, 23-25, and 20-25, marking the beginning of their campaign in Pool F, a group that also includes volleyball powerhouses Japan and Afghanistan.


Bryan Bagunas emerged as the standout performer for the Philippines, leading the team with an impressive tally of 17 points, which included 16 successful attacks and a crucial ace. Off the bench, Steven Rotter and Marck Espejo made notable contributions, notching nine and eight points, respectively. Jau Umandal and Kim Malabunga combined forces to add nine more points to the team's effort.


This game marked a historic moment for the Filipino team, as it was their first appearance in the Asian Games in nearly half a century. The last time the Philippines participated in this prestigious tournament was in 1974, where they finished sixth among eight competing teams.


On the other side of the net, Agil Anggara spearheaded Indonesia's charge with 11 points, with an impressive seven of those coming in the opening set alone. Fahry Putratama and Doni Haryono also played crucial roles, each contributing 10 points to secure Indonesia's victory.


The Philippines now faces the challenge of regrouping and bouncing back from this initial setback as they prepare to take on Afghanistan in their next match, scheduled for Wednesday at 2:30 p.m.,