Steve Rotter

Steve Rotter.–PNVF PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine men’s volleyball team put up a gallant stand against world No.5 Japan in the third set but it wasn’t enough as the Filipino Spikers ended their Asian Games campaign with a 19-25, 14-25, 23-25 loss on Thursday at Deqing Sports Centre Gymnasium in Hangzhou, China.

After losing the first two sets, the Filipino Spikers refused to go down without a fight, unleashing a 10-5 start in the third frame capped by Steve Rotter’s attack. The Japanese got their act together as Hirohito Kashimura tied the set at 16-all and went to a neck-and-neck duel.

Bryan Bagunas kept the Philippines afloat with back-to-back attacks for a 22-21 lead but the Philippines committed two consecutive miscues as Japan regained the upper hand.

Jau Umandal tied the third anew at 23-all but Kim Malabunga committed a costly service error and Yudai Arai delivered the game-winning spike for Japan, which swept all three games in Pool F to qualify for the next round.

The defeat ended the Filipino Spikers’ first Asian Games appearance in 49 years as they ended up third in Pool F with a 1-2 record. Indonesia was the other team in Pool F to advance to the round of 12.

Rotter led the way for the Nationals with 13 points. Bagunas chipped in 10 markers, while Marck Espejo added eight.

Japan’s trio of Akito Yamazaki, Hiroto Nishiyama, and Masahiro Yanagida combined for 30 points.

The Philippines’ lone win came at the expense of Afghanistan, 25-23, 25-16, 25-12, on Wednesday.

The organizers didn’t include a classification round in this year’s competition as the Filipino Spikers ended their continental campaign even before it formally opened on Saturday.

Meanwhile, Khylem Harl Progella and Grydelle Joanice Matibag vented their ire on Tam Kin Teng and Lei Keng Lai of Macau, 21-18, 21-15, in beach volleyball at Ningbo Banbianshan Beach Volleyball Centre  

Progella and Matibag improved to a 2-1 record in Pool B. The Philippine women’s beach volleyball team is already qualified to the next round as well as fellow Filipinos Dij Rodriguez and Gen Eslapor in Pool A.

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The women’s and men’s beach volleyball teams will continue their campaigns on Friday.

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