Alas Pilipinas

Alas Pilipinas captain Jia de Guzman hopes AVC Best Setter award sparks further PH rise

JR Isaga

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Alas Pilipinas captain Jia de Guzman hopes AVC Best Setter award sparks further PH rise

VETERANS. Alas Pilipinas setter Jia de Guzman (right) celebrates with libero Dawn Macandili-Catindig,

PVL Images/Joaqui Flores

The undisputed top ace in a loaded Alas Pilipinas deck of queens, captain Jia de Guzman hopes her AVC Best Setter win spurs more long-term support and consistency for the fast-rising national team program

MANILA, Philippines – Multi-awarded setter Jia de Guzman has received universal praise in her stint as Alas Pilipinas captain in the 2024 Asian Volleyball Confederation (AVC) Challenge Cup.

Not only did her effective leadership result in the Philippines winning its first medal since the federation’s formation in 1961, but the AVC also validated her world-class skills by awarding her as the tournament’s Best Setter over other stars from champion Vietnam and runner-up Kazakhstan.

Immediately after the awarding ceremony, which also featured national team rookie Angel Canino winning Best Opposite Hitter, De Guzman tried her best to put things in perspective while also living in the moment.

“Well, I’m so overwhelmed right now because, first of all, I’m just so proud that the team was able to win bronze,” she said in a mix of English and Filipino. “This is the biggest achievement for all of us. We came in this tournament not expecting anything and now, we’re bringing home a bronze medal.”

“I’m just so proud of every member of the team and it wouldn’t be possible if one of us is lacking. This Best Setter award is just one big bonus and I owe it to all my experiences since I started playing, all my coaches, and all the players I’ve encountered. They made me who I am today, so thank you very much.”

Since Alas’ first game against Australia until coming full circle with the bronze medal win against the same team, De Guzman had been the obvious heart and soul of the hastily assembled national team, rarely committing errors and always assuring those around her who do.

Armed with arguably the best collection of wing spikers in Philippine volleyball today, the Japan V. League import and longtime Premier Volleyball League star proved with her play that Alas can go so much farther and higher in the future, if only they’re given enough time to hone their craft together.

“This is a big milestone, but at the same time, we’ve had milestones before that we just failed to follow up on momentum. That’s what we’re praying for now,” she continued.

“This didn’t start with us. There were others before us, so I hope that we always keep support up, so that we could keep on playing and improve as a team.” –

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