Thai star hails PH improvement in volleyball

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 19 2018 08:24 PM | Updated as of Aug 19 2018 09:00 PM

Philippines' Mika Reyes (L) hits the ball as Thailand's captain Pleumjit Thinkaow defends during their women's Group A preliminary volleyball match between the Philippines and Thailand at the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta on August 19, 2018. Anthony Wallace, AFP.

JAKARTA -- Thailand skipper Pleumjit Thinkaow gave the Philippines’ performance a thumbs up after their volleyball game on Sunday at the Gelora Bung Karno complex.

Thinkaow had scored 10 points in Thailand’s 25-22, 25-12, 25-15 triumph over the Filipinas in their first game of the 2018 Asian Games -- the first time that the Philippines had competed in the quadrennial event in 36 years.

“Philippine very good,” said Thinkaow, a middle blocker who has been instrumental in Thailand’s dominance of volleyball in Southeast Asia. “Better than before.”

Their coach, Danai Sriwacharamaytakul, also took note of the Philippines’ improvement.

“Philippine team improved for Asian Games,” he said. “Good service (in Set 1).”

The Filipinas had raced to a 9-2 lead in the opening frame, as the Thais struggled to handle the serves of Jaja Santiago who finished with three aces. But they got their act together midway through, hacked out a tough 25-22 win, then cruised the rest of the way.

Still, the fight that the Filipinas put up made an impression on the Thais.

“Good game,” Thinkaow told Philippine media afterward.

National team coach Shaq delos Santos was gratified by the praise from the Thais.

“Thank you, thank you doon,” he said. “Happy kami … Ako, agree ako doon kasi gustong ipakita rin ng mga players na nag-iimprove din ‘yung team natin.

“And hopefully, habang tumatagal talaga, mas maimprove pa namin and talagang magtuluy-tuloy ‘tong ganitong klase ng exposure,” he added.

The Philippine team returns to action on August 21 against another powerhouse in Japan.