Panique answers Alas Pilipinas fight call with no hesitation
WITHOUT BATTING AN EYE

Panique answers Alas Pilipinas fight call with no hesitation

By: - Reporter / @junavINQ
/ 04:30 AM May 29, 2024

SCHEDULE: Alas Pilipinas at AVC Challenge Cup 2024

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/INQUIRER.net

Arah Panique doesn’t really mind getting a late call just to fill in a vacant spot.

“Given the opportunity, I showed tonight what I’m capable of,’’ the opposite hitter out of UAAP champion National University (NU) said late Tuesday evening after the women’s national team was foiled by Kazakhstan in its bid to reach the finals of the Asian Volleyball Confederation Challenge Cup for Women.

Alas Pilipinas may have lost to a more experienced Kazakh crew, but the 25-23, 25-21, 25-14 defeat in front of a jampacked, flag-waving audience isn’t the end of the road. Panique made sure everyone knew that.

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READ: Arah Panique shows her worth for Alas Pilipinas despite loss

“This (defeat) will be our inspiration as we try to recover [for the bronze medal game] tomorrow. I will have the same mindset, I’ll be ready,’’ said the 6-foot spiker.

Panique, a last-minute addition to the national squad after NU teammates Bella Belen and Alyssa Solomon begged off and Casiey Dongallo suffered an injury, came up huge starting in the first set, where the Filipinos rallied from a huge deficit to push Kazakhstan to a corner.

Scoring on kills and blocks, Panique fired up the crowd as she lit the fuse of Alas Pilipinas’ fiery fight-back before the visitors regained their composure and defused the rally through the efforts of Maksutovna Anarkulova and Svetlana Nikolayeva.

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But even as Kazakhstan went ahead, it was clear the crowd had a new name to root for, with fans at ringside referring to her as “Batgirl.”

“I thank the coaches for the opportunity. When I went in, my confidence was high and I knew I could deliver,’’ said Panique, who showed little hesitation to heed the call for a salvage job after Kazakhstan took control early.

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Panique finished with 14 points built around 10 attacks and highlighted by three blocks and an ace, a performance that stunned everyone except the guy who called her number.

“It was not a surprise for me,” said national coach Jorge de Brito. “The guys who [watched] the games in the UAAP know that she has the potential. She’s not under pressure anymore to play under any kind of competition.

“She’s really comfortable. She’s young, she makes some mistakes but it happens only when the players go inside. So, I’m really proud of her. Not even showing any hesitation to do any actions inside.”

Angel Canino had nine points and Sisi Rondina added eight as Alas Pilipinas dropped its first match since sweeping its pool in the eliminations.

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The Philippines will face Australia for the bronze medal on Wednesday also at Rizal Memorial Coliseum, hoping to score a repeat over the Aussies—whom the Filipinos defeated in the preliminaries—and claim a spot on the podium. INQ

TAGS: Sports, Volleyball

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