By the numbers: Philippine women’s volleyball team Pool A performance

Coming into the quarterfinals of the 2018 Asian Games, the Philippine women’s volleyball team carries a 1-3 record after four pool A games. Our national team defeated Hong Kong in straight sets after back-to-back straight-sets losses to Thailand and Japan, respectively. Meanwhile, the squad took a set from host Indonesia but ultimately lost in four sets. Here’s how the team fared in the quadrennial meet so far:

Valdez and Santiago led the way

Through four games, Alyssa Valdez and Jaja Santiago led the Philippines in scoring with 42 and 38 points, respectively. Together, their output makes up for 41.8% of the team’s total scoring excluding opponent’s errors which is a key indicator of how the attack is mostly concentrated on two people. Out of Valdez’ scoring output, 36 are off spikes. Meanwhile, Santiago has the most service aces with seven. The former National University spiker is also tied with Mika Reyes, Maika Ortiz, and Majoy Baron with four blocks apiece.

As a team, the Philippine players connected on 23 aces out of 263 attempts which translates to an 8.75% success rate. This highlights the lack of a service specialist in the squad who could have slightly boosted the team’s scoring efficiency. Meanwhile, the team successfully hit 144 kill spikes out of 436 total attempts which amounts to a 33% success rate.

Here’s the scoring breakdown of the team through four games (excluding opponent’s errors):

Player Name Total Points Per Game Avg. Service Aces Kill Spikes Kill Blocks
Alyssa Valdez 42 10.5 5 36 2
Jaja Santiago 38 9.5 7 27 4
Mylene Paat 16 4 2 13 1
Majoy Baron 15 3.75 0 11 4
Mika Reyes 14 3.5 3 7 4
Aby Marano 14 3.5 0 11 3
Kim Dy 13 3.25 2 11 0
Dindin Santiago-Manabat 13 3.25 0 10 3
Kim Fajardo 10 2.5 1 7 2
Maika Ortiz 9 2.25 2 3 4
Cha Cruz 6 1.5 0 6 0
Jia Morado 3 0.75 1 2 0
TOTAL 191 23 144 24

Average score per set and points ratio

The Philippines averaged 20 points per set through 13 played so far. Their highest-scoring set was 26 in the third set against Indonesia while the lowest is 12 in two instances (second set against Thailand and first set against Japan). Against the Thais, the Philippine team scored an average of 16.33 per set. That slightly dropped to exactly 16 versus Japan but increased to 22 against Indonesia. In total, the team scored 260 points and gave up 312 for a 0.833 points ratio.

Error stats can be misleading

The team with less mistakes wins the game, right? Well, it’s not necessarily the case all the time. In fact, Thailand committed 12 errors against the Philippines’ 11 while Japan had 21 faults compared to our 20. In the only game the team won, they had eight more errors than Hong Kong (20-12). In the game against Indonesia, the count was 26-22 in favor of our national squad. Therefore, errors do not tell the whole story. Rather, the next category does.

The reception is unclear

This has been the Achilles heel of Team Philippines since day one. Out of four games played, the Pinay volleybelles had an average reception rate of 21.5%. That number was significantly boosted by the 48.19 rate against Indonesia. But before that match, the numbers are dismal. From 14.29% against Thailand, the average dropped to 10.53% against Japan and slightly increased to 12.96 against Hong Kong. Even in the game the team won, they were subpar in receiving the ball. Likewise, the impressive number against Indonesia gave the squad a fighting chance in every set.

But the major story from these figures is the lack of a dependable receiving spiker that can field services cleanly. That way, the setter can distribute the ball better and garner more scores. It’s no wonder that the reception success rate is a major reason why the set average of the Philippines is at 9.3%. These numbers have to improve if we want a better performance against China in the quarterfinals.

Dug a hole on digs

Team Philippines had 28 excellent digs in four games. That amounts to seven a game which translates to seven good chances to score. But factoring in the 13 total sets that the team has played so far, they are only connecting on 2.15 excellent digs per set. That’s why aside from the hitters of Hong Kong, the spikers of every other team we faced had a field day against our floor defense.

Breaking Dawn’s performance

Libero Dawn Macandili had 14 excellent digs in four games. However, she also committed 33 faults in the same span, 19 of which came against Indonesia. In a winnable match, a fault or two could have shed points that can help win a set. But throughout the pool stage, she was far from MVP form. There were times that she fought for balls and was out of place. Perhaps her performance might serve as a dilemma to the Larong Volleyball sa Pilipinas, Inc. for future competitions.

Yes, she is still the best libero in the Philippines. But when she skipped the training in Japan for understandable reasons, they should have tapped the services of another player. That way, you will have a libero that understands the scheme of things and someone who is game shape which is important given the level of competition. Psychologically, I wonder how the player’s morale, especially that of Denden Lazaro, was affected when Macandili is being started over her. On a larger scale, it sends a bad message to aspiring players that talent trumps hard work.

All stats posted in this article are sourced and calculated from the official 2018 Asian Games website.