Rebisco loses steam vs Thai rival, finishes last in group stage of Asian Men's Club tilt

Rebisco Philippines' Joshua Retamar (4) and JP Bugaoan (2) block Diamond Food's Chaiwat Thungkam during their Asian Men's Club Volleyball Championship match Monday night in Thailand. (Photo from AVC)

Rebisco Philippines ran out of gas in the crunch and yielded to Diamond Food of Thailand, 36-34, 24-26, 26-28, 25-19, 15-12, to end its preliminary campaign in the 2021 Asian Men’s Club Volleyball Championship in Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand Monday night.

Despite being out of semifinal contention, the Filipino spikers still fought back against the resilient Thai squad but ended up winless in all four matches for fifth place Pool B.

Their earlier defeats came at the expense of Foolad Sirjan of Iran, AGMK of Uzbekistan and Al-Arabi of Qatar.

Kantapat Koonmee powered the Thais with 36 points built on 32 kills and four blocks, while Pusit Phonarin and Chaiwat Thungkham chipped in 28 and 14 points.

Jao Umandal, meanwhile, led the Filipinos with 26 points highlighted by 23 attacks, while Mark Alfafara and skipper John Vic De Guzman added 23 and 16 points.

After intense action in the first three sets where they lead 2-1, the Filipinos caught flat-footed in the fourth as the Thais controlled the fourth set with a more aggressive offense to bring the match into a decider.

Rebisco held on to take a 9-6 lead in the fifth following back-to-back spikes from Umandal, but stumbled into unforced errors that proved costly in the pivotal stretch.

Kantapat delivered two straight kills for the Thais to seal the match.

The match could have gone either way as the Thais were briefly ahead of the Filipinos in attacks, 81-77, and blocks, 11-10.

Diamond Food improved to 2-1 with one match left in the group stage – against Foolad Sirjan on Tuesday.

Rebisco, for its part, clashes with CEB in a battle for ninth place after the Sri Lankan crew finished fifth in Pool A with a 0-3 card.

CEB was coming off a 25-20, 25-12, 25-20 loss to Kazakhstan’s Burevestnic Almaty also on Monday.