The battle between PSL-F2 Logistics Manila and Hisamitsu Springs Kobe in the classification phase of the FIVB Women’s Club World Championship is supposed to be a walk in the park for the home team.
But it didn’t happen.
Instead of dominating, PSL-F2 Logistics Manila struggled big-time as the mighty Japanese came up with a solid performance using their lightning-quick attacks, solid floor defense and all-around discipline to run away with a convincing 25-15, 25-18, 25-21 victory.
With the loss, the home squad was relegated to the battle for 7th to 8th places against Asian champion Bangkok Glass. Hisamitsu, on the other hand, would face South American champion Rexona-Sesc Rio in the consolation battle for 5th to 6th places.
PSL-F2 Logistics Manila’s performance was far from what it showed when it clashed with reigning champion Eczacibasi VitrA Istanbul Friday night.
With an important semifinal match looming the following day, the Turkish powerhouse opted to rest Tijana Boskovic, Tatiana Kosheleva, Jordan Larson-Burbach, Rachel Adams and Thaisa Daher Pallesi in favor of its second stringers composed of the members of the Turkish national team.
The home squad pushed the Europeans to the limit as it won the third set before rolling over in the fourth set when the stronger, more composed Turkish asserted their dominance.
Now, the question is: Why did PSL-F2 Logistics Manila was able to match up with the bigger Turkish, but completely faded against the Japanese?
According to a prominent volleyball insider, the Asian style of volleyball which the Japanese played to perfection was simply too hot to handle for PSL-F2 Logistics Manila.
The source explained that PSL stars’ imports in Lindsay Stalzer and Stephanie Niemer of the United States, Ekaterina Krivets of Russia, Lynda Morales of Puerto Rico and Yevgeniya Nyukhalova of Ukraine are all used to play European brand of volleyball, which is a stark contradict to what the Japanese displayed.
[quote]The Japanese studied us carefully.
They know that all our imports are playing European style so they came up with a flawless display of Asian brand of volleyball which is quick on the attacks and very, very disciplined on the defensive end. I think we learned a thing or two against them. It shows that volleyball is not really a big man’s game.[/quote]
The source added that contrary to the Turkish’s European game, the imports had a harder time defending the Japanese.
[quote]Our imports were always late to react to the Japanese’s attacks. They were all used to the European brand of game.[/quote]
True enough, the Japanese clobbered PSL-F2 Logistics Manila in the spiking department, 45-30, with Yuki Ishii and Risa Shinnabe having a grand time piercing holes on the home team’s defensive blanket.
PSL-F2 Logistics coach Moro Branislav couldn’t help but marveled at how the Japanese prepared.
[quote]Japan played big today.
Hisamitsu is a very disciplined team. It played good Japan style of volleyball and we failed to counter it. In my opinion, they are the most organized team in Asia in the past 10 years. Their strategy is something we have to copy.[/quote]
Even skipper Rachel Anne Daquis acknowledged Japan’s impressive brand of play. She added that the game against Japan should serve as a prototype on how the Philippines should play in the international arena.
[quote]Hisamitsu always keeps me amazed with their fast pace. I hope the Philippines will adopt their strategy and use it in major international competitions. We have the same height as them so I think we can do it as well with the right training, solid program and good exposure.[/quote]
The fans applaud as PSL-F2 Logistics Manila made their way out of the court. They know that the final scores hardly mattered – what is important is the lessons they gained against one of the most elite, most disciplined club in Asia.