Rebisco suffered a deflating start to their 2021 Asian Men's Club Volleyball Championship campaign after falling to Sirjan Foulad Iranian, 15-25, 22-25, 5-25, at the Terminal 21 Hall in Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand on Friday (8 October).
Coming off a two-year layoff from the competitive circuit, the Philippine team received a rough welcome from the Iranian Super League champions, who orchestrated a rousing sweep to establish crucial position in Pool B.
Rebisco managed to put up a tough stand in the first two sets of the match, but Sirjan Foulad proved too much in the decisive third set, clamping down on their hapless foes to seal the deal in straight sets.
Mohammad Sadeghi Malati and Khani Ramin carried the scoring load for Sirjan Foulad with nine points apiece, while Motjaba Gholizad and Aleksandar Blagojević provided ample support with six points each.
As dominant as they were offense, the Iranians also did not let up on the defensive end, forcing the Filipino spikers to cough out a dismal 27 errors in the match.
It also did not help Rebisco that their offense stagnated in the third set, where only Nico Almendras managed to convert on an attack while the rest of their five points came from Sirjan Foulad's errors.
Mark Alfafara and Jau Umandal paced the losing side with seven points apiece as the two gave the Philippines a fighting chance in the second frame, where Rebisco knocked to within a point at 22-23 before the Iranians strung two set-clinching hits to secure the set.
Almendras chipped in six points in a lost cause, while Rex Intal and Kim Malabunga produced five and four points, respectively.
Rebisco will attempt to chalk up a breakthrough win on Saturday when it faces AGMK of Uzbekistan.
Ohmer Bautista is a sports journalist who has covered local and international sporting events in the Philippines. The views expressed are his own.