Aside from namesake, Alas setters share connection, familiarity

Aside from namesake, Alas setters share connection, familiarity

/ 01:54 PM May 21, 2024

Alas Pilipinas Julia Coronel AVC Challenge Cup

Alas Pilipinas’ Julia Coronel during the AVC Challenge Cup press conference.–MARLO CUETO/

MANILA, Philippines — Alas Pilipinas’ offense will be anchored by two Julias, who have different playing styles but honed their skills at the same high school in Colegio San Agustin under coach Grace Vita.

Julia “Jia” De Guzman, an eight-time PVL Best Setter of the Creamline Cool Smashers, is returning to the Philippine women’s volleyball team armed with her fruitful experience from the Denso AiryBees in Japan in leading these young Nationals, who only had a few days to prepare for the AVC Challenge Cup starting on Wednesday at Rizal Memorial Coliseum.

Julia Coronel, who recently stepped up as La Salle’s main setter and team captain, is just getting started after earning her spot on the national team and realizing her dream to play with her idol De Guzman.


READ: Thea Gagate, Julia Coronel excited to play with Jia De Guzman

“She’s very helpful and as a teammate, she really inspires me,” Coronel told reporters in Filipino. “She’s a great motivator inside and outside the court. It’s easy to approach her and it’s easy to talk to her, which I value the most. And I’m glad that she’s my roommate.”

True enough, De Guzman has been exchanging insights with Coronel to make the most of their short preparation as Alas Pilipinas ushers in a new era against some of the top volleyball Asian countries.

“She’s more familiar with the sets of the young setters and I’m more familiar with the sets of the seniors so both of us are very clear in communicating especially during overload setting drills about the sets that our teammates want if they want the ball quicker or higher,” said the national team mainstay. “We’re very efficient that we don’t want to waste time leading on to the AVC.”

Jia De Guzman Alas Pilipinas

Alas Pilipinas’ Jia De Guzman during the AVC Challenge Cup press conference.–MARLO CUETO/

De Guzman is proud to witness Coronel’s growth from high school to the UAAP under coach Ramil De Jesus, hoping to share a lot of things in their first team-up and at the same time learn from the younger playmaker.


READ: Jia De Guzman set for PH team return in AVC Challenge Cup

“I’ve seen her when she was starting in CSA and seeing her grow up so much in the UAAP, leading her own team in La Salle,” said De Guzman. “I’m so proud of how she carries herself and all the learnings from our coach before and all of her experience. I’m very happy to play with her and excited because we’re roommates and we can talk about a lot of things and I can also learn from her.”

Coronel has been working double time in learning the system of coach Jorge Souza De Brito, hoping to form a solid connection with their teammates as Alas kicks off its Pool A campaign against Australia on Thursday before facing India on Friday, Iran on Saturday, and Chinese Taipei on Sunday.


“I would say it’s a different system, definitely, training under coach Jorge. It’s also a big adjustment because it’s more technical compared to our previous system. I have to work twice as hard because I’m representing the country this time,” Coronel said.

The La Salle ace admitted that they are still trying to get a feel of each other and build chemistry with each other but with the PVL veteran setter leading their young team, it will be easier for them to connect despite the limited preparation.

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TAGS: Alas Pilipinas, AVC Challenge Cup

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