Rebisco PSL Manila managed to stir up the hornet’s nest in the first set, but Hisamitsu Springs of Japan got back hard to fashion out a 25-17, 25-10, 25-14 victory at the start of the Asian Women’s Club Championships Thursday at the Boris Alexandrov Sports Palace in Ust-Kamenogorsk, Kazakhstan.
Jaja Santiago scored 16 points in trying to power the Filipinas who were taking on the two-time champion Japanese club right on their first tune-up game as a core of the Philippine squad.
Fajardo scored four points and 11 excellent sets while Ces Molina, Rhea Dimaculangan and Jovelyn Gonzaga had three points each. Mika Reyes and Rachel Anne Daquis scored two points apiece, while Aiza Pontillas made one marker.
Rebisco which had 18 errors, mostly on attacks, which according to head coach Francis Vicente did very well but lacked speed and coordination that Hisamitsu, the 2002 and 2014 champion team, brandished with impunity.
“Why are you so sad?” Vicente asked the team during the team also sponsored by Asics, Grand Sport and Turkish Airlines.
“You learned from them. You didn’t play badly. We just need more speed. More volleyball IQ. You got the Japanese coach worried in the first set. Be proud,” Vicente added.
The Filipinas got the Japanese fired up with Santiago’s unstoppable forays in addition to Kim Fajardo’s sneaky net drops.
But Hisamitsu soon caught up on the plays and made the lanes impenetrable with highly organized floor defense.
Middle blocker Fumika Moriya topscored for Japan club with 14 points, while Yuka Taura and Yuka Imamura chipped in 12 and 11 markers, respectively.
Erika Sakae tossed 33 excellent sets to set Hisamitsu’s offense flowing and wreaking havoc against Rebisco.
Rebisco PSL-Manila will next face Vietnam, one of the toughest teams in the SEA Games, on Friday at 11:30 a.m. (1:30 p.m. Manila time).