Philippine women's volleyball team SEA Games

Philippine women’s volleyball team in the 31st SEA Games. AVC PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine women’s volleyball team failed to reach the podium anew after absorbing a frustrating 21-25, 25-22, 19-25, 21-25 defeat to Indonesia in the battle for third of the 31st Southeast Asian Games on Saturday at Quang Ninh Gymnasium in Vietnam.

After falling to 1-2 match deficit, the Filipino Spikers put up a gallant stand in the fourth set with Jaja Santiago, Alyssa Valdez and Mylene Paat building an 18-12 lead and trying to force a decider to salvage their bronze medal hopes.

However, Ratri Wulandari refused to extend the match as she powered her team’s 10 unanswered points to take a 22-18 lead before Kat Tolentino stopped the bleeding.

Wulandari put her team at match point, 24-20. Paat saved a point but Megawati Pertiwi nailed the bronze-clinching attack that kept Indonesia in the SEA Games podium since 2007.

The Indonesians shed tears of joy and hugged each other after an amazing fourth set comeback, while the Filipino spikers were filled with agony of defeat after a frustrating finish in the Vietnam games that extended their medal drought since 2005.

Pertiwi, Amalia Nabila and Wilda Sugandi also led the charge for Indonesia as they repeated their bronze medal win over the Philippines in the 2019 SEA Games.

Nandita Salsabila was also instrumental, putting on the finishing touches in the third set to take a 2-1 match advantage.

Santiago, once again, showed the way for the Philippine women’s volleyball team, which also drew valiant efforts from Paat, Valdez and Ces Molina.

The women’s national team only won its opening match against Malaysia in straight sets but lost four consecutive games, settling for another fourth place finish for the second straight biennial meet.

The Philippine team, which trained in Brazil under new coach Jorge De Brito and saw the emergence of Santiago as Japan V.League’s Best Blocker and Paat as Volleyball Thailand League’s Best Scorer, still couldn’t end its 17-year medal drought.

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