Bangkok, Thailand, May 13, 2023 – Formidable Thailand’s title defense was in strong shape on Saturday as the reigning and 15-time champions headed into the final showdown following their comfortable straight-set win against Philippines in the 32nd Southeast Asian (SEA) Games Women’s Volleyball Tournament at the Olympic Complex Indoor Main Hall in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
Thailand’s exceptional 25-22, 25-9, 25-12 win against the Filipinas in the Saturday’s semifinals not only made the world No.15 and consecutive two-time Asian silver medallists the only unbeaten team with remarkable record of not dropping a set to their respective rivals, but also secured them a spot in the highly-anticipated final showdown against archrivals Vietnam, which withstood determined Indonesia to pull off comeback 3-2 (21-25, 25-15, 16-25, 25-22, 15-12) win.
The final clash in Phnom Penh will be the Thailand’s consecutive 17 times in the SEA Games history since they first made it to the SEA Games final in 1985 in Philippines. From the 1989 SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to the 2023 edition in Cambodia, Thailand had secured their Final berth in every edition of the SEA Games and lost just once to Philippines in the 1993 final.
In the first semifinal clash on Saturday, Thailand fielded a strong lineup led by hard-hitting Chatchu-on Moksri and Ajcharaporn Kongyot, both of them played professional league in Turkey at the current season. The team were also strong offensively with the likes of Pimpichaya Kokram, Thatdao Nuekjang and Hattaya Bamrungsuk, three of them also played professionally in Japan’s V.League.
With Carlos Diana Mae M attacking effectively at the net, Thailand struggled in the beginning of the first set against former six-time champions Philippines. However, after leveling it at 17-17, Thailand went on their superb form, with Pimpichaya and Chatchu-on unleashing spectacular attacks and Hattaya and Thatdao producing solid blocks to win the hard-fought set 25-22.
The second and third sets became one-way traffic as Thailand cruised on to claim both sets without much effort 25-9, 25-12 to end the Philippines’ challenge.
Pimpichaya Kokram chipped in with 20 points including 18 attacks for Thailand, while Ajcharaporn Kongyot and Chatchu-on Moksri adding 11 points apiece. Carlos Diana Mae M led Philippines with 9 points including 8 attacks.
In the other semifinal match, Vietnam, which, under the Sport Center 1’s banner, captured the…
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