AVC Cup: Angel Canino shines as opposite hitter in Alas Pilipinas debut

SCHEDULE: Alas Pilipinas at the AVC Challenge Cup 2024

Alas Pilipinas Angel Canino Australia in the AVC Challenge Cup 2024

Alas Pilipinas rookie Angel Canino celebrates with her teammates after a point against Australia in the AVC Challenge Cup 2024. –MARLO CUETO/INQUIRER.net

MANILA, Philippines — Angel Canino may be playing a new position as an opposite hitter, but she still shone bright in her Alas Pilipinas debut in the AVC Challenge Cup Thursday evening at Rizal Memorial Coliseum.

Converted from outside spiker to the opposite for the tournament, the La Salle star was hailed as the Player of the Game with a game-high 17 points leading the Philippines to a thrilling 22-25, 25-19, 25-16, 25-21 win over the taller Australia in Pool A.

Canino, who scattered 15 kills, one block, and an ace, deflected the credit to her teammates, especially Jia De Guzman, and their coaches led by Jorge Souza De Brito for her solid national team debut.

READ: Angel Canino eager to return to form ahead of Alas Pilipinas debut

“I don’t think I’m the big reason. We won because of teamwork,” Canino told reporters shortly after the game. “Led by coaches and Ate Jia, we were able to do this despite the short time for preparation. We jelled well right away because we followed Ate Jia and the coaches.”

“I’m very happy because I didn’t have any expectations for myself. I wouldn’t be able to do this if not for my teammates. I’m grateful that they were there for me,” she added.

The UAAP Season 85 rookie MVP could not stop praising the brilliant playmaking of star setter De Guzman, who made her national team debut easier for her.

“It’s such a good feeling that someone like ‘The Jia De Guzman’ is setting the plays for me on my first game. She was really pushing for us to have a connection with each other,” said Canino.

READ: Angel Canino fulfills dad’s dream with PH national team call-up

With Canino shining, the Philippine team gave the packed coliseum of  4,945 fans something to cheer about.

“When we went in, we saw how the coliseum was packed. We saw the fans’ effort to support us. It’s an overwhelming feeling,” Canino said. “We’re all Filipinos here  and we’re here to support each other.”

Canino, whose La Salle squad was dethroned in the UAAP Season 86 Final Four, is eager to continue leaving everything on the floor for the country as they battle India on Friday at 7 p.m.

“I just keep on telling myself to go all-out because nothing will happen. So I wanted to show everything I have,” she said.