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Philippines falls to host Thailand in four sets in ASEAN Grand Prix

The Philippine women's volleyball team absorbed another loss in the 2019 ASEAN Grand Prix after Thailand notched a 25-12, 25-21, 23-25, 25-20 victory Saturday at the Terminal 21 Mall in Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand.

The Philippines ran out of steam after a stellar performance in the third set. They remain winless coming off a five-set loss to Indonesia in the opener, while the hosts are still undefeated after two games.

On the verge of suffering a sweep, the Philippines surged to a 3-0 start in Set 3 as Eya Laure connected on a spike and a pair of service aces. With momentum on their side, the Filipinas carried a 16-12 edge after a kill from Jovelyn Gonzaga.

Thailand managed to erase the gap but Ces Molina, Mylene Paat, and Laure pushed the Philippines back ahead by three, 21-18. The Thais continued inching closer, but a crosscourt kill from Gonzaga and a finishing kill from Kalei Mau gave the set to the Philippines.

The Philippines was off to another good start in Set 4 but Thailand immediately caught up and made it a tight affair. After a 13-all deadlock, the Thais began pulling away, building as high as a five-point advantage. Majoy Baron and Gonzaga tried to keep the Philippines alive with back-to-back points, 22-19, but Thailand came out strong down the stretch to seal the win.

Mau topped with 12 points all from attacks, while Ces Molina delivered 11 points built on nine spikes and two aces. Team captain Aby Maraño contributed nine points highlighted by three blocks.

Laure, who barely played in the first match, had a stellar outing of eight points including two aces. Gonzaga and Baron combined for 14 points.

After a lopsided opening frame, the Filipinas began gaining their rhythm midway through Set 2. Mau anchored the Philippines' 6-0 spurt that turned a 13-8 deficit into a one-point advantage. Thailand made a counter-rally but Mau continued her scoring outburst to bring the Philippines to 19-18. A runner from Maraño and a down-the-line hit from Molina kept it close, but the Thais closed out the set with three straight points to gain a 2-0 lead in the match.

The Philippines will try to bounce back against Vietnam Sunday to close the first leg of the inaugural competition.