Alas Pilipinas

Belen, Canino make most of long-awaited Alas team-up after UAAP wars

JR Isaga

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Belen, Canino make most of long-awaited Alas team-up after UAAP wars

DREAM TEAM. Alas Pilipinas' Bella Belen (left) and Angel Canino in action in the 2024 FIVB Challenger Cup

Volleyball World

After years of heated UAAP rivalry matches, young MVPs Bella Belen and Angel Canino finally unite for a common cause as part of the star-studded Alas Pilipinas

MANILA, Philippines – Bella Belen and Angel Canino have long been tabbed the brightest young stars of Philippine volleyball, ever since they quickly found their footing in the UAAP.

Both historic rookie MVPs in the collegiate ranks, Belen and Canino have been the central figures in igniting a new NU-La Salle rivalry, highlighted by a captivating UAAP Season 85 finals war that the Taft-based Lady Spikers won in back-to-back five-set thrillers.

Ever since the two stars’ paths crossed on opposite sides of the taraflex, fans for years have been clamoring for a dream team-up between the two elite prospects in a national team capacity, which at long last came true in the 2024 FIVB Challenger Cup on Friday, July 5.

Although the pairing was short-lived as Alas Pilipinas quickly bowed out of contention following a sweep loss to Southeast Asian powerhouse Vietnam, both Belen and Canino were ecstatic that they finally stood side-by-side facing a common foe instead of the usual face-to-face setting.

“I enjoyed the experience and I told them, I’d want Bella as a teammate more than an opponent,” Canino said in Filipino after a 12-point outing. “I’ve long wanted to team up with ate Bella and I’m very happy that it finally happened.”

Belen, who was limited to just 2 points in sparse minutes, likewise shared the sentiment of her rival, whom she will once again clash for at least one more UAAP championship opportunity in Season 87 next year.

“I’m very happy that I finally teamed up with Angel in the national team. Of course, I’m her opponent in the UAAP, but now, we’re finally teammates,” Belen said in Filipino.

“I think our connection will only get better if we trained together for a longer time. I think we can really bring the best out of each other.”

Alas fans will soon be treated to an extended look of the Belen-Canino tandem in the Southeast Asia V. League this August, should their schedules match again.

Their dream run has finally begun, and is bound to soar for a long, long time. Buckle up. –

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