AVC Cup: Alas Pilipinas completes Pool A sweep ahead of semis

AVC Cup: Alas Pilipinas completes Pool A sweep ahead of semis

/ 08:48 PM May 26, 2024

SCHEDULE: Alas Pilipinas at the AVC Challenge Cup 2024

Alas Pilipinas celebrates a point against Chinese Taipei in the AVC Challenge Cup 2024

Alas Pilipinas celebrates a point against Chinese Taipei in the AVC Challenge Cup 2024. –MARLO CUETO/INQUIRER.net

MANILA, Philippines — Semifinals-bound Alas Pilipinas completed a four-game sweep of Pool A after routing the hapless Chinese Taipei, 25-13, 25-21, 25-18, in the AVC Challenge Cup 2024 on a rainy Sunday before another electric crowd at Rizal Memorial Coliseum.

Even before Sunday’s win, the Philippines has already secured its first semifinal appearance in any Asian Volleyball Confederation tournament in 63 years.

Eya Laure, coming off a rest on Saturday, led a new set of starters with a game-high 15 points including the game-winning spike to end the preliminaries with a 4-0 record in Pool A.


“We’re already here so we won’t stop making history for Philippine volleyball,” said Laure in Filipino. “We’re comfortable with each other now despite the limited preparation. But when the time comes that we’ll have a longer bonding and more solid jelling, we can surpass what we’re doing right now.”

Faith Nisperos shone in her first start for Alas with eight points, conspiring with Vanie Gandler, who had 12 points.

READ: AVC Cup: De Brito proud to help Alas Pilipinas deliver results

The surging Philippines set a knockout semifinal duel against Pool B’s No.2 Kazakhstan (3-1) on Tuesday.

Defending champion Vietnam, which swept Pool B, battles Australia for the other Finals berth.


“We will go back to practice and stick to coach Jorge Souza De Brito’s system. We will try to apply whatever our game plan will be,” said Laure, who returned to action with Thea Gagate after resting against Iran on Saturday.

Leading scorer Angel Canino, Sisi Rondina, and Fifi Sharma sat out but new starters Nisperos, Gandler, and Cherry Nunag held the ground for Alas. Gagate had three blocks to finish with nine points, as star setter Jia De Guzman had another day at the office, running the plays and nailing three aces. Libero Dawn Macandili-Catindig protected the floor with her backup Jen Nierva.


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

Less than 24 hours ago, the Philippines clinched a historic semis berth after beating Iran, 25-16, 25-13, 25-15, after Nisperos’ back-to-back match-clinching attacks.

Despite that, the Filipino Spikers refused to show any signs of letting up in their final assignment before semis, dominating the third set with Gandler mounting a 10-point spread, 14-4, and never looked back.

Chinese Taipei forced an 8-8 tie to start the game but Gandler scored two consecutive hits to cap Alas’ 6-0 run for a 14-8 lead, which she also stretched to 11, 23-12, en route to a 12-point first-set win.

The home squad squandered an 11-6 start in the second set as Chinese Taipei tied it to 14-all before Laure brought back the momentum on their side with back-to-back kills. Gandler and Gagate led the Filipino Spikers to set point, 24-20, before a costly error by the visitors to take a two-set lead.

Chinese Taipei finished winless in four games in the preliminary round, facing Pool B cellar-dweller Singapore in the battle for ninth place also on Tuesday.

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No one from Taipei scored in double figures with Hsu Fang-Min leading the way with nine points.

TAGS: Alas Pilipinas

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