By John James Girao

PHOTO: Asian Volleyball Confederation

Team Philippines’ Rebisco absorbed another blowout loss as the more experienced Supreme Chonburi handed the young Pinay squad a three-set beating, 25-11, 25-16, 25-16, in the 2021 AVC Asian Women’s Club Volleyball Championship Saturday afternoon at Terminal 21 in Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand.

The two-time Asian Club titlists, bannered by the Thai middle legend and 10-time Southeast Asian Games gold medalist Pleumjit Thinkaow, never let the error-plagued Philippine crew to reach 20 points in any part of the game for a potential top-seed standing in Group B.

With returning stars Aby Maraño, Dindin Santiago-Manabat, Eya Laure, and Ivy Lacsina who were just cleared to play in the tournament following additional health protocols, the Filipinas showed some signs of life in the last two frames but could not keep up their control as the Thais proved to be a force to be reckoned with, staying at the bottom standings.

The powerhouse Thai club left the Pinays with a mountain to climb in the opening salvo after racing to a 24-8 commanding lead. DLSU standouts Kim Dy and Majoy Baron then responded to save three set points before Chonburi sealed the first set off a Waranya Srilaoong attack, 25-13.

Rebisco came back stronger to keep the match close midway the second set by trailing 15-14 before the Pink Dolphins mounted a 7-0 spurt that eventually propelled to a set victory.

Manabat, who was just making her first appearance, was the spark young Rebisco needed in the third set delivering five points to finish with six but her first action was too late as Supreme remained in control of the game.

The Pinay spikers even started off a 6-3 margin in the third frame with Manabat and Faith Nisperos joining forces to galvanize the PH’s offense but it proved to be the team’s last stand as the Thais slowly recouped the drive to recover from a 7-6 deficit to a 22-13 lead.

Team captain Pleujimit, who was doing the damage in the middle, led the Pink Dolphins with 12 points while Wipawee Srithong and Srilaoong tallied 11 points apiece.

Lady Eagles’ Nisperos led Rebisco with eight as, while Baron and Dy contributed seven and six, respectively in their losing effort.

Mhicaela Belen, who shone brightly in yesterday’s match with 13 points, only added a point.

Rebisco seeks to take its first victory of the tournament as they set a head-to-head match against Iran's Saipa Tehran on Sunday, October 3, 7 pm, Philippine time.