Jao Umandal Rebisco-Philippines’ Jao Umandal had coming out party in the Asian Men’s Club Volleyball Championship. AVC photo

PH spikers finish with a bang

October 16, 2021 Theodore P. Jurado 140 views

REBISCO-Philippines ended its campaign in the Asian Men’s Club Volleyball Championship on a high note, scoring a 25-14, 22-25, 25-18, 21-25, 15-11 win over Sri Lanka’s CEB Sports Club at the Terminal 21 competition hall in Nakhon Ratchasima.

“This is our first exposure and we hope to become better for the next edition,” said coach Dante Alinsunurin after his squad earned its lone win in the tournament.

“We are hopeful for the continued rise of the level of Philippine volleyball on its return to the international scene,” he added.

Consistent all-tournament long, Jao Umandal capped her brilliant showing with 28 points, including a kill that sealed the Filipinos’ ninth place finish.

The University of Santo Tomas standout, who tallied 20-of-35 attacks, also had five blocks and three service aces.

Stepping up big in the absence of Marck Espejo and Bryan Bagunas, it was Umandal’s coming out party in the competition – the national team’s first since the historic 2019 Southeast Asian Games silver medal run.

Rebisco also displayed balanced offense. Skipper John Vic de Guzman and Nico Almendras each had 11 points, while Kim Malabunga and Francis Saura had 10 pojnts apiece.

Mark Alfafara added eight markers in two sets before sitting out the rest of the two hour, 18 minute match.

The Filipinos had 19 blocks, with middles Saura and Malabunga combining for 10.

“Perhaps the biggest lesson we will take is to pounce on whoever is on the other side whenever we can,” said De Guzman, who was efficient on his attacking game, going 10-of-15.

“After this, I know we need to work on our composure and on our focus on everything we do.”

It was Philippines’ third appearance in the men’s continental club competition – and the first since the country, represented by Cignal HD, ended up in 12th place in 2015 in Chinese-Taipei.

The Philippines’ highest finish ever was in 2014, when PLDT placed seventh place in the Manila edition.

Rebisco went winless (0-4) in Pool A, but not going without a fight as proved by last Monday’s narrow 34-36, 26-24, 28-26, 19-25, 12-15 loss to Thailand’s Diamond Food.