Philippine volleyball

Alas Pilipinas races against time as AVC Challenge Cup nears

Philip Matel

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Alas Pilipinas races against time as AVC Challenge Cup nears

CAPTAIN. Jia de Guzman and members of the Philippine women's volleyball team that will be competing in the AVC Challenge Cup hold a press conference on May 20, 2024.

Mark Cristino/Rappler

Communication will be key for Alas Pilipinas Women as they brace for tough competition in their home stand for the AVC Challenge Cup

MANILA, Philippines – With time not on their side, Alas Pilipinas Women are banking on efficient communication in their preparations for the upcoming Asian Volleyball Confederation (AVC) Challenge Cup that will run from May 22 to 29 at the Rizal Memorial Coliseum.

A hastily-formed team led by team captain Jia de Guzman, the squad is composed of a healthy mix of pros from the PVL and collegiate stars from the UAAP.

“We’re very clear in communication now, since we need to say adjustments in real time and training because we don’t have much time to train. Lately it’s been three hours every day, but that’s very short,” De Guzman told reporters at the Makati Shangri-La on Monday, May 20.

“Me and [Julia Coronel], we’re very clear in communicating, especially during overload setting drills, how to set them, either make it quicker, or make it higher,” she added.

“We are very efficient that we don’t want to waste time leading to the AVC.”

Aside from the setter tandem, both of whom are Colegio San Agustin products, the team is comprised of Dell Palomata, Sisi Rondina, Cherry Nunag, Vanie Gandler, Dawn Macandili, Angel Canino, and Thea Gagate.

Completing the team are Faith Nisperos, Eya Laure, Jen Nierva, Fifi Sharma, and last-minute replacement Arah Panique, who subbed for the injured Casiey Dongallo.

Coming off grueling campaigns in their respective leagues, the players are dealing with their own aches and pains going into the tournament.

For Canino, it’s about playing in the right frame of mind as she continues to recover from a wrist injury and aims to show off her skills following La Salle’s early exit in the UAAP.

“I’m preparing my mind because that’s the most important thing for me…. I’m 100% ready in terms of mindset because it’s a whole difference for me, a whole opportunity,” said Canino.

“Physically, we are jelling as a team and I’m very happy because there are less adjustments despite the players coming from different systems. We are trying to adjust to each and every one.”

Bunched with the Philippines in Pool A are Chinese Taipei, Australia, India, and Iran, with the winner gunning for a spot in the FIVB Volleyball Women’s Challenger Cup in July.

Alas Pilipinas Women are already in by virtue of hosting the FIVB event at the Ninoy Aquino Stadium in Manila. –

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