HIGHLIGHTS: Philippines vs Thailand – SEA Games 2019 men's volleyball semifinals
MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine men’s volleyball team has hit a speed bump in its medal quest at the 2019 Southeast Asian Games.
After an impressive two-game stretch in the preliminary round where they didn’t drop a single set against Cambodia and Vietnam, the Filipinos suddenly landed on the receiving end of a sweep after dropping a hard-fought game against undefeated Indonesia.
Although team stars Marck Espejo, Bryan Bagunas and the fast-rising Joshua Retamar brought their A-game as usual, their overall defense was practically non-existent as they only mustered one block in their first tournament loss.
As a result, the national team got relegated to a semifinal matchup against defending champion Thailand at 6 pm on Sunday, December 8 at the PhilSports Arena in Pasig City.
A preliminary sweep would have given them a relatively lighter assignment versus the depleted Myanmar.
Still, an upset against the Thais is certainly not out of the books yet for the squad of coach Dante Alinsunurin, who quickly pointed out a need to shore up on the defensive end.
A win for the Philippines means an assured silver, while a loss means needing to fight for bronze.
Technically speaking, the men’s national team has already clinched its best finish in 14 years regardless of what happens next, but the players have no plans of resting on their laurels just yet.
Will the hometown heroes continue their resurgent streak or will the defending SEA Games champions school them on their home floor?
Follow Rappler's live updates below:Men's VBall: PHI vs THA - Curated tweets by RapplerSports