Rebisco squandered a one-set lead and suffered a heartbreaking loss to Diamond Food of Thailand, 34-36, 26-24, 28-26, 19-25, 12-15 in the 2021 Asian Men's Club Volleyball Championship at the Terminal 21 Hall in Nakhon Ratchasima on Monday (11 October).
The Philippine team brushed aside a tough opening-set loss and delivered a spirited run behind the backs of Joshua Umandal, Mark Alfafara and John Vic De Guzman. However, Kantapat Konmee and the Thais proved more composed down the stretch in a match that went the full distance.
The five-set loss prevented Rebisco from winning a match in four outings during the preliminaries. It also relegated them to the classification phase for ninth place.
Diamond Food, on the other hand, rose to a 2-1 slate to bolster their semi-finals bid.
Umandal and Alfafara, who were nothing short of explosive all game long, nailed attacks from all cylinders to open the deciding frame where Rebisco held a commanding 9-6 cushion.
However, Diamond Food forced the Filipinos to cough out a string of errors, seting up a deadlock at 11-all.
Konmee, who erupted for a game-high 36 points, then took charge from that point onward as he pummelled the differential hits that ended the five-set thriller.
Providing more firepower for Diamond Food was Pusit Phonarinwere, who unloaded 28 points.
Umandal, on the other hand, spearheaded Rebisco with 26 points while Alfafara poured out 23 of his own. For his part, De Guzman shouldered the offensive load with 16 points in a lost cause.
Rebisco will have a day of rest before competing in the classification round on Wednesday (October 13).
Ohmer Bautista is a sports journalist who has covered local and international sporting events in the Philippines. The views expressed are his own.