Rebisco Philippines suffers an upset over the Diamond Food of Thailand in the 2021 Asian Men’s Club Volleyball Championship’s end of preliminaries round on Monday at Terminal Hall in Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand.

/ 12 October 2021

Rebisco ran out of gas and gave up a 2-1 set lead in a five-set thriller, 34-36, 26-24, 28-26, 19-25, 12-15, against home side Diamond Food.

Rebisco-Philippines played its best game so far, powered by Mark Alfafara, Jao Umandal, and team captain Johnvic de Guzman, in the Nationals’ gallant stand that lasted two hours and 43 minutes with the first three frames decided in extended sets.

Rebisco rallied a furious fightback in the third set with a come-from-behind fashion but the Philippine-squad caught flat-footed in the fourth canto capped off by Thai club’s skipper Kittikun Sri-uttahawong, Kissada Nilsawai, and Kantapat Koonmee to force a decider. 

Alfafara and Umandal lifted the Philippines to a 9-6 lead in the fifth but stumbled into unforced errors that made the Thai’s steal the momentum, 11-13.

Kantapat Koonmee struck back-to-back kills, delivering the final touches to seal their first win of the competition.

Koonmee unleashed 36 points, built on 32 attacks and four blocks, while Pusit Phonarin added 28 points off 23 kills, three blocks, and two aces in the win.

Umandal top-scored Rebisco with another tournament-high 26 points from 23 attacks, two blocks, and an ace, while Alfafara registered 23 points off 20 kills and three blocks.

De Guzman delivered 16 points, while middle blocker JP Bugaoan contributed eight points, including a clutch hit in the third set, where Rebisco fought back from a 16-22 deficit to take the 2-1 match advantage.

The heartbreaking loss put the Philippines to a 0-4 card and will face the fifth-place finisher in Pool A to battle in the ninth to 10th places on Wednesday.