NT sweeps host, claims semis spot

The national women’s volleyball team opened its campaign on a high-note when it demolished host Malaysia 25-18, 25-11, 25-16 in the 29th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games Thursday at the MITEC Hall 11 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

The Nationals are assured of a semis spot with the win. They will join Vietnam as Malaysia ended the preliminaries with a 0-2 record in Group B.

Despite being loudly cheered by its home crowd, Malaysia could hardly answer with the Philippines’ missiles from the service and attack line as soon as it found its groove in the second set.

With that, Kim Fajardo urged the host to call an early time out after serving four aces in a row, 5-0.

Low Mei Cing was the lone bright spot for Malaysia as she finished with 15 points.

6-foot-5 Jaja Santiago and Aby Maraño, on the other hand, delivered 13 and 11 markers for the Philippines, respectively.

The Nationals will next face the 2015 Singapore edition silver medal winner Vietnam, the same squad they clobbered in the recent Asian Seniors in Manila.

The last time the Philippines reached the semifinals of the prestigious tourney was in 2005 when it also won bronze at its home soil.