Alas Pilipinas

Bahrain breakthrough: Alas Pilipinas nabs first AVC Challenge Cup win over young Indonesia

JR Isaga

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Bahrain breakthrough: Alas Pilipinas nabs first AVC Challenge Cup win over young Indonesia

AT LAST, ALAS. Alas Pilipinas' Owa Retamar (left) and Kim Malabunga in action in the 2024 AVC Challenge Cup

Asian Volleyball Confederation

Owa Retamar and Marck Espejo conspire on offense to lead Alas Pilipinas to its first win in the 2024 AVC Challenge Cup at young Indonesia's expense, sealing a ninth-place match berth

MANILA, Philippines – Alas Pilipinas finally got over the hump in the 2024 Asian Volleyball Confederation (AVC) Challenge Cup after downing young Indonesia in four sets, 25-23, 23-25, 25-14, 25-22, at the Isa Sport City Hall in Bahrain on Wednesday, June 5.

Following two close losses to mighty China and host Bahrain on consecutive days that immediately put it out of title contention, the Philippines vented its ire on Indonesia’s future stars to complete the breakthrough win.

Captain Marck Espejo led the balanced, Owa Retamar-orchestrated offense with 20 points, followed by 12 apiece from young star Jade Disquitado and veteran blocker Kim Malabunga, and 10 from Nico Almendras.

Completely different from the 2019 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games group that beat host Philippines for the men’s volleyball gold, Indonesia’s roster tied Chinese Taipei for the youngest Challenge Cup age average of just 18 years old – the youngest coming in at 16 and the oldest at just 22.

Nonetheless, this is an important, momentum-creating win for the Sergio Veloso-coached squad, as Alas next faces either Southeast Asian king Thailand or young Chinese Taipei in the ninth-place match on Friday, July 7, at 7 pm, Manila time.

Should the Philippines wrap up the weeklong tournament with a win, it will slightly improve from its 10th-place finish in last year’s Challenge Cup, where it finished with a 3-3 overall record. –

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