AVC Cup: Alas' Jia De Guzman savors playing before home fans

AVC Cup: Alas’ Jia De Guzman savors playing before home fans

/ 01:41 PM May 25, 2024

Jia De Guzman Alas Pilipinas AVC Challenge Cup 2024

Alas Pilipinas setter Jia De Guzman against India in the AVC Challenge Cup 2024.–MARLO CUETO/INQUIRER.net

MANILA, Philippines — Jia De Guzman experienced world-class volleyball playing for the Denso Airybees in the Japan V.League and other tournaments.

But for the Alas Pilipinas captain, nothing beats playing at home in front of an ecstatic and passionate crowd.

Despite the limited preparation, the PVL eight-time Best Setter has been keeping the young Alas Pilipinas together and making the country proud after winning their first two games in Pool A of the AVC Challenge Cup.


And the overwhelming support of the whole nation has been inspiring her in leading and running the plays for the squad.

SCHEDULE: Alas Pilipinas at the AVC Challenge Cup 2024

“It feels great. Kahit gaano katagal akong mawala sa Pilipinas iba pa rin yung maglaro dito sa home namin and with the home crowd,” said De Guzman after Alas’ 22-25, 25-21, 25-17, 25-18 win over India on Friday before 3,800 spectators at Rizal Memorial Coliseum.

“Sobrang thankful ako sa lahat ng fans, lahat ng sumusuporta samin from here, from home, from all around the world,” she added.


De Guzman, who played in the Japanese Division 1 league and won a title in the V.Cup, has been spelling the difference in the first two games, vaunting her volleyball brilliance and scoring five points against the taller Indians.

But the four-time PVL Finals MVP from Creamline has credited their recent success to the eagerness of the young guns Angel Canino and Eya Laure, who are the leading scorers of the team, as well as middle blockers Fifi Sharma and Thea Gagate.


READ: AVC Cup: Jia De Guzman’s leadership brings Alas Pilipinas together

“They bring a different kind of power, different kind of fire and energy inside the court na sobrang kaming seniors din nadadala talaga,” said De Guzman, who is leading the team with Sisi Rondina and Dawn Macandili-Catindig.

“It’s really a good mix of fire, energy, and composure inside the game especially we’re really working on our endgames right now.”

Alas Pilipinas has shown its quick in-game adjustment in the first two games, losing the opening set against Australia and India but still pulled off back-to-back wins to lead Pool A.

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As they try to clinch a semis berth against Iran (1-1) on Saturday at 7 p.m., De Guzman and her teammates will stay ready for more adjustments under coach Jorge Souza De Brito.

“Our main focus talaga was in-game adjustments. We’re going up against teams na hindi pa namin nakakalaban before, we’ve only seen them in videos,“ she said.  “Iba pa rin yung nagvi-viewing kayo, iba pa rin yung nakakalaban niyo sila sa court because the other teams are also adjusting based on how we’re playing so thankfully, our team naman nakaka-adjust kaagad.”

TAGS: AVC Challenge Cup, Jia De Guzman

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