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Alas Pilipinas sweep Pool A, set up AVC Challenge Cup semis clash vs Kazakhstan

May 27 ------ Alas Pilipinas completed a sweep of Pool A after disposing of a young Chinese Taipei side, 25-13, 25-21, 25-18, heading into the semifinals of the 2024 AVC Challenge Cup for Women on Sunday at the Rizal Memorial Coliseum.

The Philippines will enter the knockout crossover semis spotless, going 4-0 in the pool play. The hosts will face Pool B second seed Kazakhstan in the semifinals on Tuesday at 7 p.m., still at the historic Manila venue. “‘Yun nga nandito na kami so hindi na kami titigil na gumawa ng history para sa Philippine volleyball,” said outside spiker Eya Laure, who registered 15 points on 12 attacks, two aces, and a block.

The last time the Filipinos and the Kazakhs figured in a match was on August 30, 2023 in the 22nd Asian Senior Women’s Volleyball Championship with the latter winning in five sets, 25-21, 17-25, 24-26, 27-25, 15-6. That Philippine team was consisted of the National University core led by Bella Belen and Alyssa Solomon, who are both supposed to be part of the current pool but declined to recover from their title run in the UAAP, which ended just 11 days ago.

Alas hardly faced any resistance as they opened the game with a 25-13 first frame that became possible due to a 10-2 run from 8-8 to 18-10 punctuated by two straight aces by Jia De Guzman. Vanie Gandler, making her second straight start and this time with Sisi Rondina on the bench, had 12 points built on 11 spikes. Faith Nisperos, who played the entire game in lieu of Angel Canino, posted nine points while Thea Gagate also hit the same scoring mark including three blocks.

The Taiwanese squad will collide with Singapore in the battle for ninth place on Tuesday, 1 p.m., at the Ninoy Aquino Stadium. Chinese Taipei banked on the duo of Hsu Fang-Min and Hsu Heng-Yun with nine and eight points, respectively.


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