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Alas Pilipinas sweeps Pool A 

by Bryan Gadingan

ALAS Pilipinas continued to demonstrate their power as they completed a sweep of the 2024 AVC Challenge Cup Pool A, defeating Chinese Taipei in a dominant straight-set win on Sunday at the Rizal Memorial Coliseum. 

The national team will enter the semifinals with an undefeated record, beating Taipei 25-13, 25-21, 25-18, and keeping the top seed after the preliminary round. 

Throughout the game, the Philippine squad maintained complete control. Finishing the first set at 25-13, courtesy to Alas’ 10-2 run, the opponent was nervous early on in their game. 

Eya Laure, the former PVL Best Outside Spiker, led the squad in scoring with 15 points, which included 12 attacks, two service aces, and one block. Vanie Gandler, who started for the second consecutive game, scored 12 points. 

National team coach Jorge Souza de Brito carefully moved his players, sitting Angel Canino, Sisi Rondina and Fifi Sharma for this game after resting Eya Laure and Thea Gagate the day prior. 

Faith Nisperos, Vannie Gandler and Chery Nunag all responded to De Brito’s trust by making big contributions in defeating the Taiwanese team. 

Meanwhile, team captain Jia de Guzman praised their strong “always ready” bench, claiming that it would make them “unpredictable” for their opponents. 

“The bench is pretty deep. So, kahit sino sa amin ready pumasok, ready mag-deliver kahit si Julia Coronel as a setter. It’s good for us kasi at least we’re a bit more unpredictable para sa kalaban,” the veteran setter said. 

“We are full of energy, everyone [who] went inside did really really good. So I am really confident [that they will not only play] good but also get the results,” De Guzman said. 

The Philippine National Volleyball Federation (PNVF) also congratulated the squad on their historic performance. 

According to PNVF president Ramon Suzara, this is the first time in 63 years that a Philippine team has advanced to the semifinals.

“This is the first time that a Philippine team—by any gender—has ever made it to an AVC competition semifinals,” Suzara said. “Congratulations to Alas Pilipinas.” 

The Philippines will now face Kazakhstan, the second seed from Pool B, in the knockout crossover semis, which will take place on Tuesday at 7 p.m. at the same historic Manila stadium.

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