Alas Pilipinas sweeps Iran to claim AVC Challenge Cup semifinals seat

Alas Pilipinas books a semifinal spot in the AVC Challenge Cup after overpowering Iran (Joaqui Flores/PVL)

By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña

Alas Pilipinas continued its unstoppable run in the ongoing AVC Challenge Cup after blanking Iran, 25-16, 25-13, 25-15, and secured a ticket to the tournament semifinal stage on May 25, 2024, at the Rizal Memorial Coliseum.

After two dominant wins against Australia and India, the Philippine national volleyball team picked up where they left off and handed the Iranians a demolition exhibition in front of their Filipino fans.

It was a balanced offensive attack for Alas Pilipinas as Jia Morado-De Guzman, their main setter, continued to distribute their attack fairly in all three sets.

Vanie Gandler and Faith Nisperos, the two outside hitters who barely played in the last game, received tons of minutes from head coach Jorge Souza de Brito against Iran.

The 1-2 punch didn’t disappoint and paid off the trust of the coaching staff, supplying a different brand of attack for Alas that Iran didn’t see coming.

After the three-set duel, Gandler wrapped up the win with nine points built from eight successful attacks while Nisperos delivered in the clutch, scoring Alas’ two final points to secure their third straight win.

It was all PHL from the get-go as their blitzing attack overwhelmed Iran, backstopped by their tight defensive floor coverage and tremendous middle blocking.

In all three sets, the national team limited Iran to just 44 points, one of their lowest-scoring outputs in the ongoing AVC Cup.

Angel Canino once again led PHL in scoring, dropping a team-high 16 points derived from 11 successful attacks to go alongside three service aces and two blocks.

Meanwhile, Sisi Rondina maintained her fiery tournament run and capped off the huge win with 12 markers built from 10 successful attacks.

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