Alas Pilipinas falls to Kazakhstan, battles for AVC Cup bronze

Alas Pilipinas falls to Kazakhstan, battles for AVC Challenge Cup bronze

SCHEDULE: Alas Pilipinas at AVC Challenge Cup 2024 

Alas Pilipinas against Kazakhstan in the AVC Challenge Cup semifinals.

Alas Pilipinas against Kazakhstan in the AVC Challenge Cup semifinals. –MARLO CUETO/

Kazakhstan forged an AVC Challenge Cup 2024 Finals clash against defending champion Vietnam after dragging Alas Pilipinas back to earth on Tuesday at Rizal Memorial Coliseum.

Skipper Sana Anarkulova spearheaded the offense of Kazakhstan with 19 points to give the hometown heroes a 25-23, 25-21, 25-14 pounding, the Filipinos’ first loss of the tournament after sweeping their preliminary assignments.

Still assured of its best finish in any AVC tournament since joining 63 years ago, the Philippines guns for the bronze medal on Wednesday opposite Australia, which lost its semifinal match against Vietnam earlier, 25-21, 25-19, 25-16.


READ: PNVF wants Jorge De Brito to stay as Alas Pilipinas coach

“I’m really proud of the team. I have no words to explain it because I we really fought despite being at a disadvantage, even when we were playing catch up and getting scored on easily” skipper Jia de Guzman said.

“I felt that we put up a fight whether inside the court or from the bench. We’ll fight harder tomorrow,” she added.

Kazakhstan fired from all cylinders from the get go, pulling away by as much as 11 points before Alas found some footing with an 11-2 run behind Arah Panique who came off the bench and helped narrow the deficit to 23-22.


READ: For just P15,000 each to play, Alas Pilipinas earns fans’ hearts

The young NU Lady Bulldog opposite hitter brought fireworks especially in that opening frame before finishing with 14 points from 10 attacks on top of the only three blocks of the Philippines and an ace.


“Sobrang lakas na [lang] po ng loob na [at tiwala] po sa sarili ko, na ‘ay pinasok ako kailangan ko ibigay yung kaya kong gawin’ and syempre, pinagkatiwalaan po ako so ipapakita ko lang talaga yung makakaya ko,” Panique said.

“Sobrang ganda ng pasok [ni Arah] kanina. She added so much sa offense namin and at the same time, she’s just so energetic and so eager to play na kaming nasa loob, nadadala rin kami,” De Guzman said of the NU rookie.

Arah Panique provides spark for Alas Pilipinas in loss to Kazakhstan in the AVC Challenge Cup 2024 semifinals.

Arah Panique provides spark for Alas Pilipinas in loss to Kazakhstan in the AVC Challenge Cup 2024 semifinals. –MARLO CUETO/

The Kazakhs, however, still managed to take the opening frame and avoided a meltdown but had a much better showing in the second frame with Anarkulova and Svetlana Nikolayeva, who had 11 points, forming a powerful 1-2 punch.

Margarita Belchenko, who was responsible for half of Kazakhstan’s eight blocks, and Kristina Anikonova each had eight points.

READ: Jia De Guzman is ace up Alas Pilipinas sleeve

Riding a 7-1 run in the decider, Kazakhstan kept its foot on the gas pedal with timely adjustments to finally have the stranglehold of the match. The Kazakhs had a much better digging and checked a lot of Alas’ offense to 21-13.

Angel Canino was limited to nine points including the last point of Alas Pilipinas before Nikolayeva hit an attack off the block and Kristina Anikonova punctuated the knockout matchup with a running attack.

It did not help Alas Pilipinas that it was at a 20-13 disadvantage in errors including a crucial rotation mishap in the endgame.

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“Ang ganda rin kasi nakikita namin na malalim din ‘yung bench namin and bukas magagamit pa rin namin ‘yun,” she added as Alas looks to end its Challenge Cup campaign with a win.

TAGS: Alas Pilipinas

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