Philippines won over Kazakhstan. What happens now?

We finally had reason to celebrate about the AVC Cup for Women 2018 campaign of the Philippine women’s volleyball team. After heartbreaking losses to Australia and Iran in consecutive days, the team barged into the win column by defeating Kazakhstan in four sets: 25-22, 25-23, 20-25, 25-17. But what does this victory mean to their campaign? Do they still have succeeding games? We’ll answer all related questions here.

Will the Philippines make the quarterfinals?

Unfortunately, they will not have a chance to fight for a medal anymore. However, there’s still a lot of meaningful games left to play despite having only one victory. Here’s why:

The competitors for the Asian Women’s Volleyball Cup are divided into three pools. Thailand, Japan, and South Korea are in Pool A while China, Vietnam, and Chinese Taipei are in Pool B. As we now know, the Philippines is in Pool C. As per their performance in the 2017 Asian Women’s Volleyball Championship, the AVC Board of Administration unanimously decided that the teams in Pool A will get the first to third seeds in this tournament depending on how their games play out. Meanwhile, the fourth to sixth seeds are for the teams in Pool B.

To complete the eight quarterfinalists, only the top two teams from Pool C will advance. Iran, having defeated all teams in the pool, is then ranked seventh. Now this is where the contention starts. Australia have more wins but the Philippines ended up having more points (5-4) than them thanks to two points from the five-set losses and three points from the Kazakhstan victory. How will this be settled?

As per the AVC, pool standings are sorted out in this order:

  1. Number of matches won
  2. Match points
  3. Sets ratio
  4. Points ratio
  5. Result of the last match between the tied teams

By virtue of that order, and disappointing as it may seem, Australia takes the eighth and last quarterfinal spot because it has two victories as compared to the Philippines’ one.

What’s next for Team Philippines now?

They now enter the classification phase wherein they can finish as high as fifth place. However, the path to achieve that will not be easy.

As the ninth seed, the Philippines will play the loser of the quarterfinal match-up between second-seed South Korea and sixth-ranked Chinese Taipei. If the Philippines win that match, they will be out of the 9th or 10th place and can finish as high as fifth. But if they lose, then the team will play one more match for ninth place. If they lose this match, the Philippines will place 10th.

However, contrary to popular belief, the 9th and 10th placers after the classification will not be relegated to the Challenge Cup because what’s used to determine the competitors for both tournaments are the team’s rankings in the previous Asian Championship. To put it in perspective, the top ten teams in the 2019 Asian Women’s Volleyball Championship will play in the 2020 AVC Cup for Women. Meanwhile, those who will finish 11th and lower as well as teams that did not participate in the Asian Women’s Volleyball Championship will play in the AVC Challenge Cup.

If our team beats the loser of the South Korea and Chinese Taipei, they will then face the winner of the classification playoff between two eliminated teams: the loser of the Rank 1 (Thailand) and the Rank 8 (Australia) quarterfinal match versus the loser of the Rank 4 (China) and the Rank 7 (Iran) quarterfinal game.

If the Philippines win in that game, they will have a chance to battle for fifth place. If they lose, they will play one more game for seventh place. But regardless of where Team Philippines land on this phase, they will be out of the bottom two spots.

Therefore, there’s still much reason to cheer for our national team. Potentially finishing fifth in this competition would be a monumental achievement. But to do that, they must overcome a grueling uphill battle.