Belgium outlasted Bulgaria, 25-22, 25-23, 20-25, 20-25, 17-15, in a thrilling five-setter to cap its Volleyball Nations League Quezon City campaign on a high note Sunday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Britt Herbots followed up her 33-point explosion against Poland Saturday with a 26-point outing to help Belgium remain outside the relegation zone with its second straight victory—and third overall in eight matches.
With captain Celine Van Gestel leaving the match early due to a right ankle injury, Herbots, egged on by an appreciative Filipino crowd at the Big Dome, had to carry her team back.
“The win is also for her,” said Herbots on Van Gestel. “We know Bulgaria is really a good team. They have good attackers. They dig a lot.”
Herbots was unstoppable in the deciding set, delivering back-to-back kills to put the Belgians ahead, 16-15, before Silke Van Avermaet produced the match-winner.
“Fifth set was really tough because we were down four or five points. We came back and fought back. I’m very happy and very proud,” said Herbots, who tallied team-highs three blocks, 12 digs and seven receptions.
Van Avermaet added 13 points and nine digs, while Marlies Janssens chipped in 10 points and five digs for the Belgians.
Boosted by its back-to-back victories, Belgium hopes to carry this momentum heading into Week 3 in Calgary, as the victory also kept its hopes alive of making it to the eight-team Finals next month in Ankara, Turkey.
The Bulgarians fell to 2-6 slate.
Maria Yordanova led the Bulgarians with 19 points, including two blocks, while Nasya Dimitrova and Silvana Chausheva each had 14 markers.
The loss negated Chausheva’s nine-block effort.
The event has Mikasa, Ganten, Gerflor and Senoh as global sponsors and global suppliers, PLDT Home as presenting partner, Rebisco, MG Philippines, TOP Speed Insurance, Asics and Maynilad as official sponsors, Havas Ortega, The Look Company, Summit Outdoor Media, The Philippine Star, Philippine Daily Inquirer, Marketing Media Ventures, Strong Media Advertising Solutions. 91.5 Win Radio, Philippine Olympic Committee, Philippine Sports Commission, City of Taguig, Quezon City and F2 Logistics as official suppliers.