AVC Cup: Alas Pilipinas claims historic semis spot, sweeps Iran

AVC Cup: Alas Pilipinas claims historic semis spot, sweeps Iran

/ 08:33 PM May 25, 2024

Alas Pilipinas AVC Challenge Cup 2024

Alas Pilipinas celebrates against Iran in the AVC Challenge Cup 2024.-MARLO CUETO/INQUIRER.net

MANILA, Philippines — Alas Pilipinas booked its first-ever ticket to the AVC Challenge Cup semifinals after sweeping Iran, 25-16, 25-13, 25-15, to stay unbeaten in Pool A on a rainy Saturday evening, which didn’t stop the electric home crowd from a wild celebration at Rizal Memorial Coliseum.

The Philippines will be entering the semis of the third edition of the tournament, surpassing its previous seventh-place finish last year.

The home team tries to sweep Pool A against the also-ran Chinese Taipei (0-3) on Sunday at 7 p.m.


SCHEDULE: Alas Pilipinas at the AVC Challenge Cup 2024

Setter captain Jia De Guzman continued to shine bright in running the plays of Alas, as Angel Canino sustained her fine form with another game-high 16 points off 11 attacks, three aces, and two blocks

Sisi Rondina also delivered the goods with 12 points to become the first Philippine team —by any gender— to reach the AVC competition semifinals, according to PNVF president Ramon “Tats” Suzara.

“Naamaze ako sa mga teammates namin ngayon kasi ang bilis magadjust and parang pare-pareho lang kami talaga ng role, kung ano yung kailangan gawin, pinupunan. Lalong lalo na led by Ate Jia kaya ayun, thankful ako sakanila kasi sobrang napapadali yung trabaho namin,” said Rondina after the win.


Alas coach Jorge Souza De Brito fielded a new set of starters with Vanie Gandler, Cherry Nunag, and libero Jennifer Nierva but it didn’t stop them from dominating the Iranians.

“All these guys here, they are really good. The question that we have, day after day, is to make a schedule of the players that we can choose for tomorrow,” said De Brito after earning his biggest achievement as a Philippine national team coach. “These guys, they keep their level always. They are really good. I’m proud of them.”


Gandler had nine points, while middle blockers Fifi Sharma and Nunag chipped in six and four points, respectively.

Alas started to pull away in the second set with Canino and Rondina connecting to build a 19-9 spread and never looked back until the latter nailed a massive back row attack to complete a 12-point rout and a two-set lead.

READ: AVC Cup: Jia De Guzman savors playing before home fans

The Filipino Spikers carried their momentum in the third frame, building a 20-10 lead after Rondina and Gandler’s back-to-back attacks. Dell Palomata even scored her first point of the tournament before Faith Nisperos closed out the game with back-to-back attacks — her first two of the Challenge Cup.

After losing the opening frames of their first two games against Australia and India, the host earned its first set win of the tournament with Nunag and Gandler tallying a 23-15 spread after the latter nailing an ace en route to a dominant start.

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Iran fell to the brink of elimination with a 1-2 record, hoping to save its campaign in a crucial game against Australia (2-1) on Sunday.

Aytak Salamatgharamaleki carried the Iranians with 10 points, being the team’s lone double-digit scorer.

TAGS: Alas Pilipinas, AVC Challenge Cup 2024

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