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Alas drops semis to Kazakhstan in AVC Challenge Cup

May 29 ------ Alas Pilipinas displayed great heart, coming back from huge deficits, but ultimately, the hometown heroes were relegated to the Battle for Bronze. The Philippines succumbed to a taller Kazakhstan squad, 23-25, 21-25, 14-25, in the semifinals of the 2024 AVC Challenge Cup for Women at the Rizal Memorial Coliseum. 


Arah Panique, a last-minute replacement for injured Casiey Dongallo who was barely used in the pool play, was a revelation for Alas off the bench, leading their fight with 14 points on 10-of-24 attacks, 3-of-4 blocks, and one service ace. However, it was not enough to counter the taller Kazakhs. “We were prepared to play against them. They have a tough block, they pressured in the first two sets. But they came fast in the beginning,” said Alas head coach Jorge Souza de Brito. “What I liked about our team, they never give up at any moment. Also, we played most of the time at the same level with them. These guys are on their way to being much better than this one. It’s a promise that they made to themselves,” continued the Brazilian coach, whom the PNVF wants to retain after this tournament. 


Backing Panique were Angel Canino and Sisi Rondina with nine and eight points, respectively. The Philippines will vie for a historic bronze finish tomorrow at 4 p.m. against Australia, a team that the Nationals already defeated in the pool play, 22-25, 25-19, 25-16, 25-21. A win by Alas will mark the country’s first-ever podium finish in any Asian-level tournament. Meanwhile, the Kazakhs will vie for the gold at 7 p.m. against defending champion Vietnam. 




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