The Asian Volleyball Confederation (AVC) Continental Cup campaign of the Philippine men's national beach volleyball team came to a screeching halt after bowing down to Australia on Friday in Nakhon Pathom, Thailand.
Jaron Requinton and James Buytrago put up a gallant stand against the towering Australian pair of Christopher McHugh and Damien Schumann but their efforts were not enough as the Filipinos dropped the opening match of the semifinals series, 11-21, 15-21.
Australia raced to a sizable lead in the first set behind steady coverage and precision hits, leaving the Requinton-Buytrago duo in the dust for a 1-0 set buffer.
In the second salvo, the Aussies seemed to have carried the momentum over from the opening set until the Filipino spikers found their groove and forced a tight tussle. Down by a slim margin at 11-12, McHugh and Schumann then dug deep, uncorking a blistering 10-3 surge to complete the sweep.
Facing elimination in the second match, Jude Garcia and Anthony Arbastro of Philippine Team 2 tried to keep the fire burning for the Philippines when they squared off against Australia's Team 2 of Maximilian Guehrer and Zachery Schubert on the sands.
However, Garcia injured his left knee in the second set, leaving them no choice but to forfeit the game.
With the stinging losses at the hands of the Aussies, the Filipino spikers kissed their Tokyo Olympic dreams farewell.
Prior to this match, the Filipinos opened their campaign on a rousing note.
Drawing strength from the brilliance of Garcia and Requinton, the Philippines defeated Lebanon in their opening series to chalk up a win in the tournament.
Ohmer Bautista is a sports journalist who has covered local and international sporting events in the Philippines. The views expressed are his own.
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