A general off-day coupled with hidden fatigue crept into to the Fibr-Philippines Power Pinay’s match for eleventh place as India repeated its preliminary round trouncing of the Filipinas, this time via a 25-19, 25-22, 25-16 score line in the penultimate competition day of the 17th Asian Volleyball Confederation (AVC) Asian Senior Women’s Volleyball Championship at the MCC Hall in Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand.
The Power Pinays just could find their rhythm against the Indians and finished in the tournament—and the Asian rankings—at twelfth place; three below the previous finish of the 2005 squad bannered by iconic names like Mary Jean Balse, Tina Salak, Cherry Rose Rivera-Macatangay and the Carolino sisters. But it was a four-place climb from its former spot of sixteenth in the continent.
PLDT HOME Fibr broadband representative Evelyn Celis was among the first to congratulate the team for its mini-achievement.
"Itaas niyo mga noo niyo," Celis said after the Power Pinays’ final match of the biennial meet, as reported by Philippine Volleyball Federation (PVF) media man Mark Dionsio. "Malaking bagay ang twelfth place para sa mga baguhang tulad niyo. Nandito lang kami para suportahan kayo. Maraming salamat sa dedikasyon niyo."
The Filipinas struggled early and it was apparent to Head Coach Nes Pamilar that this was an off-day in the making as the veteran mentor tried to find players combinations that would click, to no avail.
"We tried our best," he lamented. "Pero nangyayari talaga na lahat ng spiker mo walang laro. Nangyayari talaga yan."
Pamilar, who has developed current volleyball sensations like Rachel Anne Daquis, Wendy Semana, Maica Morada and Gyzelle Sy, knows what he’s talking about as the squad’s leading scorer throughout the tournament in Aiza Maizo-Pontillas pointed out.
“Palo, receive, dig, drop wala talaga eh," the former UST Queen Tigress said. "Kahit anong gawin ko, di ako maka-puntos. ‘Di naman sa excuse pero may mga araw talaga na nangyayari yung ganyan."
India leaned once again on their star spiker Mini Mol Abraham who registered a game-high eleven points as none of the Power Pinays could churn out a double-figure performance. Center Royse Tubino led the Philippines with a mere eight markers, followed by six from Maizo-Pontillas. Team Captain Angge Tabaquero could only contribute five points.
Some who watched the match observed that there was a certain degree of fatigue clouding the movements of the Power Pinays and a more determined Indian team just played their game.
The contingent returns to Manila on Sunday morning, the day after the championship match.
I will write a long treatise on the progress attained by this intrepid group of young women in their sortie into a new realm of international competition. And while the positives outweigh the negatives in this initial exposure of a team that the PVF, the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) and the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) has formed together for the first time in eight years, there are still obstacles that hindered better progress for the program and—with the help of many online critics and social media “sports officials”—maybe we can bridge these little holes in our titanic quest together.
For now, the Power Pinays, the coaching staff and the managerial team have done the best they can. Whether or not the PSC gives the green light for the 2013 Myanmar SEA Games still remains to be seen.
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But a renaissance has begun. The question is: will it stay a baby step or will it blossom into a series of them. I guess we’ll find out soon enough.
Congratulations to the team. Let’s see if we can take it from here.
IND—Abraham 11, Nirmala 10, Raju 9, Vengadan 8, Ghosh 4, Antony 2, Khedkar (L) 1, Joseph 0, Kacheri 0, Nittoor 0.
PHI—Tubino 8, Maizo-Pontillas 6, Eulalio 5, Saet 5, Tabaquero 5, Benito 3, Datuin 1, Gendrauli 1, Gata-Pantone (L) 0, Macatuno 0, Soriano 0.
Follow Noel Zarate on Twitter (@NoelZarate) and email firstname.lastname@example.org