(Alonte Sports Arena)
10 a.m. -- China vs. Chinese-Taipei
12:30 p.m. -- Kazahkstan vs. Korea
3 p.m. -- Japan vs. Thailand
5:30 p.m. -- Philippines vs. Vietnam
KOREA overcame the Philippines gritty stand in the first two sets before carving out a 25-23, 25-18, 25-12 win in the 19th Asian Senior Women’s Volleyball Championship last night at the Alonte Sports Arena in Biñan, Laguna.
Fan favorite Kim Yeon Koung proved too classy for the Nationals, firing an efficient 9 of 12 attacks and unloaded three service aces to finished with 12 points for the Koreans.
Playing as an outside spiker for the first time in the tournament, Jaja Santiago scored with 10 points while Alyssa Valdez and Jovelyn Gonzaga added seven points apiece in a match where the Philippines got a neat lesson in world-class volleyball.
“Nakikita niyo na kaya ng Pilipinas kailangan lang constant ang training huwag lang ilang araw dapat tuluy-tuloy ang programa para pumantay tayo sa level nila,” said national mentor Francis Vicente.
The Koreans were ahead 19-13 and are holding a 24-20 lead when the Nationals saved three set points, highlighted by substitute Abi Maraño’s two service aces to cut the deficit to one, sending the home crowd into frenzy.
Sensing trouble, coach Hong Sung Jin inserted Kim Yeon Koung in the match and smashed the set point to allow Korea to escape.
Still on a high after a tightly-contested opening frame, the Philippines led 10-7 after skipper Mika Reyes set up her erstwhile collegiate rival Valdez for the kill.
Kim Yeon Koung then returned to the match, scored the service ace to break the 14-14 standoff and the Korean skipper took over to give her team a 2-0 set advantage.
The Nationals never recovered from there, as Kim Yeon Koung proved unstoppable in the third set, with Korea taking a 19-9 spread and never looked back.
The Philippines will face Vietnam, which lost to Kazakhstan earlier, 25-21, 23-25, 22-25, 20-25, at 5:30 p.m. today, looking for a better placing in Pool E and avoid facing the No. 1 team in Pool E.
Hyojin Yang had four blocks and three service aces for a 13-point effort for the Koreans.
Pool F action saw Thailand nipping defending champion China in the tournament’s first five-setter match, 25-22, 22-25, 25-16, 23-25, 15-12, and Japan sweeping Chinese-Taipei, 25-19, 25-16, 25-20.
Pleumjit Thinkaow delivered the match point from a Nootsara Tomkom toss to help the Thais stay undefeated heading in their 3 p.m. clash with the Japanese.
Bangrungsuk Hattaya topscored Thailand with 19 points, including two blocks and two service aces
The match between the Thais and the Japanese will determine the Pool F winners to take on the Pool E’s fourth placer in the knockout quarterfinals tomorrow.