One-and-done: Alas Pilipinas crashes out of Challenger Cup as Vietnam reasserts mastery

JR Isaga

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One-and-done: Alas Pilipinas crashes out of Challenger Cup as Vietnam reasserts mastery

GREAT EFFORT. Alas Pilipinas' Angel Canino attempts an attack over the Vietnam defense in the 2024 FIVB Challenger Cup

Volleyball World

Alas Pilipinas makes a quick exit in the world-class 2024 FIVB Challenger Cup, as longtime Southeast Asian tormentor Vietnam rolls to a semifinal-clinching sweep

MANILA, Philippines – It’s a one-and-done stint for Alas Pilipinas in the 2024 FIVB Challenger Cup as world No. 34 Vietnam rolled to a 25-14, 25-22, 25-21 knockout quarterfinal sweep at the Ninoy Aquino Stadium in Manila on Friday, July 5.

Nguyen Thi Bich Tuyen, the 2024 Asian Volleyball Confederation (AVC) Challenge Cup MVP, showed her elite attacking prowess once again on Philippine soil with a 30-point explosion in just three sets.

Former PVL MVP Sisi Rondina, meanwhile, led the losing cause with 15 points, while ex-UAAP MVP Angel Canino tallied a 12-point outing.

“I’m very proud of the girls because I really saw that everyone fought for every point, and until the end, we all gave our best,” said Alas captain Jia de Guzman, who finished with only 5 excellent sets out of 105 attempts in a rare off night.

“In terms of experience, we’re still lacking, but we know that we’ll get there eventually, so we’ll give whatever we can give and learn from every game, just keep on taking lessons, win or lose.”

Head coach Jorge Souza de Brito opted to take it easy with his national team returnees, as two-time UAAP MVP Bella Belen only had 2 points, while reigning PVL All-Filipino Finals MVP Jema Galanza went scoreless in the loss.

With the win, the Southeast Asian powerhouse Vietnam arranged a knockout semifinal clash with world No. 16 Czech Republic, which clinched its spot off a surprising 25-15, 25-22, 25-16 rout of world No. 17 Argentina.

In the other semifinal bracket, world No. 13 Belgium takes on No. 15 Puerto Rico for a shot to qualify for the 2025 Women’s Volleyball Nations League (VNL).

Alas, meanwhile, will set its sights next on the Southeast Asia V. League this August, with its core pro league stars likely set to skip the 2024 PVL Reinforced Conference kicking off this July 16. –

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