AVC Cup: Kyla Atienza impresses in PH team debut
MANILA, Philippines — Kyla Atienza was a revelation in her first Philippine women’s volleyball stint.
The Creamline libero played a major role in the Philippines’ valiant effort against Vietnam before yielding, 19-25, 17-25, 29-31, in their AVC Cup debut on Sunday at PhilSports Arena.
Atienza was everywhere for the Cool Smashers, trying to keep the ball alive for every attack from Vietnam.
“I just enjoyed the game. My team really needs me. We’re going through so I had to step up,” said Atienza in Filipino as they missed head coach Sherwin Meneses and key players Alyssa Valdez, Jia De Guzman, and Risa Sato.
Her impressive floor defense was the foundation of the Filipinos’ gallant stand, especially in the third set where they pushed the Vietnamese to their limits.
The Far Eastern University standout admitted Vietnam’s attacking, led by Tran Thi Thanh Thuy, was really excellent. But she is charging it to experience.
“They are really good. For me, it’s a good experience and exposure to play in an international tournament,” Atienza said. “I’m so happy because I’m with Creamline in my first national team experience. It’s heartwarming to see our fans cheer for us.”
Despite losing their first Pool A game, Atienza remained proud of how they went up against the Southeast Asia powerhouse.
“We’re really proud because we fought until the end even we’re undermanned. We banked on our bonding and we’re happy how we performed as a team,” she said.
Atienza and the Cool Smashers continue their campaign against defending champion China on Tuesday evening.