Asian Volleyball

Alas Pilipinas falls to China in AVC Challenge Cup for Men opener

Delfin Dioquino

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Alas Pilipinas falls to China in AVC Challenge Cup for Men opener

TEAM. Alas Pilipinas in action in the 2024 AVC Challenge Cup for Men in Bahrain.

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Alas Pilipinas keeps in step with higher-ranked China in each set but ultimately falls via sweep and now faces a must-win situation in the AVC Challenge Cup for Men

MANILA, Philippines – Alas Pilipinas faces a must-win situation in the Asian Volleyball Confederation Challenge Cup for Men after dropping its opener against China in Bahrain on Sunday, June 2 (Monday, June 3, Manila time).

The world No. 59 Filipinos kept in step with the higher-ranked Chinese in each set but ultimately fell via sweep, 25-19, 25-22, 25-22, at the Isa Bid Rashid Hall in Isa Town to drop to 0-1 in Pool A.

“It was a tough game. I know we just did our best and we fell short and made a lot of mistakes, but it was a good game,” said Alas Pilipinas co-captain Marck Espejo.

With the loss, the Philippines needs to beat host Bahrain on Monday (Tuesday, June 4, Manila time) in its final pool stage match to get a crack at advancing to the quarterfinals.

Only the top two teams from each of the four pools will make it to the last eight, while the bottom squads will be relegated to the classification phase.

Jau Umandal and Leo Ordiales paced the Filipinos with 10 points each, while Espejo and Kim Malabunga added 8 and 5 points, respectively.

The game saw two-time UAAP MVP Josh Ybañez debut for the national team as a libero.

“[A]s I told my players, sometimes we win, but every time, you need to learn,” said Alas Pilipinas head coach Sergio Veloso.

Zhang Jingyin produced 15 points built on 14 attacks and 1 block to power world No. 31 China, which also got 13 points from Jiang Chuan. –

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Delfin Dioquino

Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.