Unfortunately, Philippines gets into the AVC Challenge Cup semifinals

May 27, 2024

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MANILA, Philippines – Unfortunately, on a soggy Saturday night, the Philippines created history by earning a spot in the AVC Challenge Cup for Women quarterfinals for the first time.

In front of a crowded Rizal Memorial Coliseum in Manila, the Philippines’ brilliance was on full display as they decisively defeated Iran 25-16, 25-13, and 25-15, demonstrating their ability to handle the court under pressure.

In addition to putting them within one win of a perfect Pool A sweep, this victory was their best-ever result in the Challenge Cup—a far cry from their seventh-place showing and nonattendance in the first one.

Because of the squad’s depth and quality, Coach Jorge Souza de Brito found himself in a difficult situation when it came to choosing the starting lineup rather than the players’ ability.

“These players are all really talented. “Who will you play for is the question you ask yourself every day,” Alas head coach Jorge Souza de Brito stated.

The team’s choice to rotate starters, bringing in Vanie Gandler, Cherry Nunag, and Jen Nierva, paid off as they followed their strategy well, putting an end to Iran’s attempts and winning in straight sets.

Vanie Gandler was a key player throughout the thrilling play. He went from being a service specialist to a strong offensive player and scored nine important points during the game.

“To be honest, we didn’t really have high expectations given our preparation, but I always knew this team would fight, so I’m not surprised that everyone gives it their all in every game,” Gandler said.

Faith Nisperos, who entered the fight towards the end, delivered a series of critical strikes to seal the victory and enliven the home fans.

As Alas Pilipinas prepares for a match against Chinese Taipei, they have their eyes set on a flawless group stage and are ready to continue their winning ways and establish their domination in the pool stages.

Once again leading the way, Angel Canino displayed her incredible scoring ability with a 16-point effort, well-supported by the exciting 12-point performance from Sisi Rondina.

After the dust settles, Iran reassembles for a pivotal match against Australia, intent on reviving their prospects of making the semifinals and surviving the tournament.

With 10 points, Aytak Salamat spearheaded the Iranian attack, followed by Elaheh Poorsaleh’s seven.

Unfortunately, the coach of the Philippines is focused on bench strength for the remaining pool phase.

The focus of attention switches to Alas Pilipinas’ strategies as the 2024 AVC Challenge Cup for Women progresses, under the direction of head coach Jorge Souza de Brito.

De Brito made a smart suggestion before their crucial match against Iran, considering a tactical change in their starting lineup.

The seasoned strategist disclosed his intention to prolong his team’s rotation, with the goal of maintaining the vigor of his players while balancing performance.

While highlighting the value of depth in a demanding tournament schedule, De Brito said, “We can’t do numerous modifications, but we’re trying to.”

De Brito emphasized that the players were fatigued after playing back-to-back games, therefore it was important to rotate in new players without losing the team’s advantage.
The Brazilian coach emphasized the value of bench strength in maintaining momentum throughout the competition, drawing from his extensive experience.

De Brito, who is comfortable with every player on his roster, stated, “They guys can be extremely, really good, have an outstanding performance again.”

In the early going of the competition, Alas Pilipinas created a strong impression by defeating strong opponents with perseverance and tenacity.

The Filipino team dominated India and rallied after being beaten against Australia to take the lead in Group A.

De Brito is full of faith that his team can improve with every game as the excitement for their matchup with Iran grows.

“Every time the band is going to perform here, I’m comfortable that they’re going to demonstrate something more impressive than that which came before,” he said.

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