Shocker! Pinoys oust volleyball champion Thailand to reach SEA Games final

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 08 2019 08:26 PM | Updated as of Dec 09 2019 12:36 AM

The Philippines defeated defending champion Thailand 17-25, 25-20, 23-25, 27-25, 17-15 to advance to the Southeast Asian Games men's volleyball final on Sunday.

In front of a raucous crowd at PhilSports Arena, the Filipinos stunned the regional powerhouse to arrange a gold-medal game against Indonesia on Tuesday.

The final is set to start at 6 p.m.

The Filipinos ended a 42-year wait to advance this far in the tournament, since their runner-up finish in 1977. Myanmar, known as Burma at the time, won the gold then.

The country, ranked no. 131 in the world, sent world no. 39 Thailand in the battle for bronze against Myanmar.

Kim Malabunga broke a 12-all score in the fifth frame with a kill block to put the hosts up. Amorntep Konhan tied it at 13 after Thailand called time. Kittinon Namkhunthod put Thailand at match point, but Konhan sent his serve out.

Konhan scored on an off the block hit but Malabunga tied it again at 15. Bagunas got a kill block in after an unsuccessful challenge by Thailand, before sealing the win with a thunderous hammer.

Thailand tried to shake off the Filipinos, who breathed down the Thais' necks 22-21 in the fourth frame. Thailand went up, 24-21, only to see the Malabunga and co. come back to life.

The Philippines saved three match points to knot the set before Bryan Bagunas scored to put his squad up 25-24.

Amorntep Konhan answered with a hit but Bagunas hammered another kill before the Filipinos completed the comeback after an attack error by Thailand.

The home side woke up from a sluggish first set with an inspired second frame, as the Filipinos pulled away late to take a 23-18 lead off a Ranran Abdilla hit. The visitors scored two straight before Malabunga sealed the equalizer with a block and a quick hit.

Thailand went up 17-14 in the third, but got a serious scare from the Filipinos as sparkplug Rex Intal put the home team up 21-20 with a quick kill of the Thais’ misreception. The two squads exchange hits in the next plays with Espejo knotting it at 23.

Amorntep Konhan put Thailand at set point before Thai-Malian Kissada Nilsawai finished the set with a solid block on Espejo’s attack.

—With a report from Mark Escarlote, ABS-CBN Sports

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2019 SEA Games