PH men’s spikers drop opener to Indonesia in Asian Games

PHilippines SEA V-League

FILE–Philippine men’s volleyball team. Photo from SEA V-League

The Philippines dropped its first assignment in the men’s volleyball competition of the Asian Games 2022 on Tuesday ahead of the official opening of the continental meet on Saturday in Hangzhou, China.

The Filipino Spikers bowed to Southeast Asian powerhouse Indonesia, 25-22, 25-23, 25-20, as they became among the first Filipino athletes to see action in China.

The country is sending 396 athletes from 40 sports in these pandemic-delayed Games in 2023 and the bulk of the delegation will start arriving in the coming days.

Bryan Bagunas, who missed the SEA Games earlier this year due to personal reasons, led the Filipinos’ effort against the Indonesians with 19 points, with all but two from kills.

Rising star Steven Rotter added nine points while Marck Espejo, who came off the bench after joining the team just last Sunday amid preparations with his Korean club, had seven markers.

The Philippine team managed to hang in there with Indonesia, winner of the last three SEA Games competitions, for the most part but couldn’t get the finishing kick to score a set.

Behind back-to-back points from Joshua Umandal, the Filipinos even led 10-7 in the opening frame before Indonesia got its act together then managed to tie it at 19 before losing steam.

That became the story of the game for the Philippines as Indonesia managed to always pull away late in the set to complete the sweep.

Next for the Filipinos is Afghanistan on Wednesday then Volleyball Nations League bronze medalist Japan on the 21st.

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