Asian Volleyball

‘Surreal’: Alas Pilipinas basks in glory of historic AVC Challenge Cup bronze finish

JR Isaga

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‘Surreal’: Alas Pilipinas basks in glory of historic AVC Challenge Cup bronze finish

PURE JOY. Alas Pilipinas players celebrate after winning a historic bronze in the 2024 AVC Challenge Cup.


Formed in a week's time and practicing for less, Alas Pilipinas still pulls through with its first AVC medal in 63 years, making a statement to how much higher the country can go in international play with enough prep time and resources

MANILA, Philippines – In one of the more unexpected outcomes in Philippine volleyball, the hastily assembled Alas Pilipinas women’s team barreled into the pages of history, winning its first medal in the Asian Volleyball Confederation (AVC) at the end of the 2024 Challenge Cup on Wednesday, May 29.

Only dropping one of its six matches in a grueling seven-day stretch, the star-studded collection of volleyball standouts capped off the tournament in the best way possible, a 25-23, 25-15, 25-7 destruction of Australia to snap a 63-year medal drought since joining the AVC.

Amid one last deserved standing ovation at the packed Rizal Memorial Coliseum, captain setter Jia de Guzman deflected credit one more time, as she celebrated history with her ever-energetic teammates at the match’s conclusion.

“It feels surreal. Actually, I think it’s going to take a while for it to sink in because we went in this game not expecting anything. Now we’re going home with a medal,” she said.

“It’s been years, decades since the last medal, so we’re really super thankful. We’re really hopeful, we’re looking forward to more preparations for the upcoming tournaments we will play in, because if this is what we’ve already shown now, we just hope that we keep improving and move up.”

Angel Canino, a newbie in the seniors national team following her sophomore season with La Salle, was likewise ecstatic that her Alas debut stint couldn’t have gone any better than how it unfolded.

“I’m very proud of the team, the management and the coaches because given our preparation time, we were still able to get the bronze,” she said after a team-best 14-point performance to cap off the tournament.

“I’m very proud because it’s no joke, what we went through as individuals and as a team. All I can say is I’m proud that we went all out for one another.”

It remains to be seen whether this group will stay together in its next major competition, the FIVB Challenger Cup from July 4 to 7, also hosted in Manila.

Regardless of what lies ahead, this assortment of aces has proven enough to the powers that be just how much higher the country can go in volleyball when given more time, resources, and dedication to the cause. –

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