The Philippines bowed to Iraq, 22-25, 19-25, 18-25, on Thursday for its first loss in the 2014 Asian Men’s Volleyball Club Championship at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
Bulgarian import Ananiev Metodi, who stands 6-foot-7, powered Iraq with 15 points while the 6-foot-8 Hungarian Barroti Arpad contributed 12 points including three blocks.
Iraq took the solo lead in Pool A with a 1-0 card while the Philippines dropped to 1-1 mark for second. At third is Mongolia, which holds a 0-1 mark.
De La Salle University-Dasmariñas standout Alnakran Abdilla was the only Filipino player in double digit with 11 points as Victorian Premier League Most Valuable Player Cedric Legrand of Australia was limited to just seven points. Former University of Santo Tomas middle hitter Jayson Ramos contributed nine points.
The Filipinos will advance to the quarterfinals if Iraq beats Mongolia on Saturday.
Only two teams in each group will move on to the knockout stage of the tournament sanctioned by the Asian Volleyball Confederation.
Playing in Pool B are defending champion Iran, Japan, Lebanon and Vietnam while Qatar, Kazakhstan, Oman, Hong Kong and Turkmenistan are in Pool C, and Taiwan, China, United Arab Emirates and Papua New Guinea in Pool D.
Each team is allowed to get two foreign players as reinforcements.
Besides Legrand, Australian William Robert Lewis is the other import player of the Philippines.