Alas Pilipinas opens AVC Cup campaign with huge win over Australia

What an impressive opening win for Alas Pilipinas! (PVL/Joaqui Flores)

By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña

Alas Pilipinas, the PHL women’s national volleyball team, kicked off its AVC Challenge Cup campaign on a high note after dominating Australia, 22-25, 25-19, 25-16, 25-21, on May 23, 2024, at the Rizal Memorial Coliseum in Manila.

Despite facing the higher-ranked Australian squad who imposed an obvious advantage in height and size, the Filipinas gave their loyal fans a delectable treat after scoring an impressive reverse sweep.

Alas Pilipinas received an early wake-up call when they fumbled their chances in the first set that allowed Australia to quickly jump into the driver’s seat.

Just when the Aussies thought they could replicate their performance in the first set, Alas Pilipinas shrugged off their early game jitters and came out firing in the second frame.

Jia Morado-De Guzman was crucial during the momentum-clinching set as she executed their offensive sets to perfection, confusing the Australian middle blockers with her balanced setting as she fed most of her attackers in the front row.

From the high-leaping Sisi Rondina to Angel Canino and Eya Laure, De Guzman varied her setting options that paid off dividends, allowing Alas Pilipinas to level their opening game at 1-1.

It was then all PHL as the prized Filipina aces snowballed in the final two sets led by the late barrage of Rondina, Laure, and Canino.

In the fourth and final period, De Guzman continued her setting wizardry, feeding the dynamic defensive duo of Fifi Sharma and Thea Gagate who turned her quick 1-2 sets into gold with several finishes.

“Everybody in this gym, also the opponents know that she’s the best setter. She’s one of the best setters we have. She already played outside the country and she’s been leading one team, winning and winning for years, so she has this capacity to lead some young guys,” said Alas’ head coach Jorge Souza de Brito.

Canino, the young collegiate superstar from De La Salle University (DLSU), had a lights out debut in the senior’s national team after receiving the Best Player of the Game honors.

The outside hitter was impressive on both ends of the floor and wrapped up the win with 17 big points built from 15 successful attacks, a block, and a service ace.

Meanwhile, the duo of Laure and Rondina combined for 33 points while Gagate contributed 11 markers and four big blocks.


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