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PHL Volleyball Team, with Batangas Core, Pushes Regional Power Thailand All the Way in ASEAN Tournament

The Philippine girls' volleyball team in the ASEAN Schools Games. Image credit:  Malou L. Malaluan.
A Philippine girls’ volleyball team, the core of which is from the secondary girls’ team of De la Salle in Lipa City, pushed regional powerhouse Thailand all the way earlier today in the ASEAN School Games being held in Singapore before eventually succumbing in the fifth set of a tightly fought contest.

The girls from Batangas brushed aside the taller Thai girls’ reputation and took the first set, 25-23. The Thais bounced back to take the next two sets 25-27 and 22-25. In the fourth set, the Filipinas taught the Thais all about Batangueño grit and defiance to win, 25-22, and force a decisive fifth set.

The last set was tightly and evenly fought. The Philippine team finally succumbed to the Thais, 14-16; but not after giving the Thais notice of the emerging force that is Philippine volleyball.

Earlier, the Philippines defeated both Malaysia and hosts Singapore in straight sets. The score against Malaysia in the match played on 15 July was 25-18, 25-20 and. 25-16. Yesterday, 17 July, the Filipinas were even more dominant in a 26-24, 25-17 and 25-11 victory over Singapore.

Tomorrow, the team plays against Indonesia knowing that a win will give the country the silver medal.

Philippine team coach Regine Diego, coach of the DLSL secondary volleyball team and a former DLSU Lady Spiker, in an interview with the Facebook Page The Volleyball Reporter praised the team’s fighting spirit, “ang mga bata played with sobrang ang laki ng puso. (The girls played with the biggest heart.) I'm so proud of them.”

About her team’s achievement in going toe-to-toe with perennial regional champion Thailand, she said, “sobrang advanced nila tapos nakadikit kami it's something to be proud of talaga (They (the Thais) are so advanced and we were able to stay close with them. It’s really something to be proud of.).”

Philippine team coach Regine Diego being interviewed by The Volleyball Reporter.
The ASEAN School Games are an annual event held since 2009 for high school teams of member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. Apart from volleyball, there are also competitions in, among others, athletics, baseball, futsal, swimming and table tennis.

The Philippine volleyball team, which is made up of mostly Region IV-A CALABARZON players, won the right to represent the country by virtue of its gold medal finish in the last Palarong Pambansa.

The team’s Batangueño core is made up of Kimberly Adajar, Mary Mirgie Bautista, Jamie Margaret Frago, Yvonne Cyrah Humarang, Alleiah Jan Malaluan and Janel Maraguinot, younger sister of Ateneo Lady Eagle Jhoanna.

These girls, representing De la Salle and the City of Lipa, won the Southern Tagalog regional games called the STCAA. The rest of the Philippine team is made up of players from the provinces of Laguna and Rizal, the city of Biñan, the National Capital Region and Central Luzon.

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