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AVC Club: Belen shines as young Rebisco handed tough loss by Altay

The youthful Rebisco capped the Philippines’ day in the 2021 Asian Women’s Club Volleyball Championship with a tough loss.

Kazakhstan’s Altay handed the Filipino squad a 25-23, 25-13, 25-17 defeat, Friday evening at the Terminal 21 Hall in Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand.

Rebisco failed to build momentum from a strong opening set and ran out of gas in the remaining frames against the Kristina Belova-led Altay.

Nineteen-year-old Mhicaela Belen, the second youngest player of Rebisco next to Bernadett Pepito, shone the brightest for the Filipino squad with 13 points.

Last-minute addition Kim Dy dropped eight points of her own, while Faith Nisperos had seven including a service ace.

After a lackadaisical second frame, the Filipinas were able to keep in step in the early goings of the third but the Kazakhs pulled away in the second half to take the win.

Altay cruised to a 13-3 second period start and did not look back to move a set away from a sweep, 25-13.

The young Rebisco squad attempted multiple comebacks in the first salvo after going down by as much as five, but it was halted after a service error by Faith Nisperos to give the Kazakhs an early 1-0 set lead, 23-25.

“Stepping on the court for the first time in one-and-a-half years felt like brand new for me,” Rebisco captain Majoy Baron said. “We needed to adjust again and I know we would have to improve our muscle memory.

“After today’s match, Coach Jorge [Edson Souza de Brito] himself said he did not see any fear from our faces. We just enjoyed our time on the court,” the F2 Logistics Cargo Mover added.

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Aby Maraño, Dindin Santiago-Manabat, Eya Laure, and Ivy Lacsina did not suit up for Rebisco.

Nadiia Kodola led Altay with 13 points while captain Sana Anarkulova and Belova delivered 11 points apiece.

Rebisco joined fellow Pool B opening day losers Saipa (Iran) at a 0-1 win-loss record.

The Filipinas will square off against Supreme Chonburi of Thailand tomorrow, 4:30 pm.

“Against Supreme Chonburi, I told them we will fight. I know we have a chance to do it better than before, better than today,” Rebisco head coach Jorge Edson Souze De Brito said. “It’s just the beginning. We will take all the lessons from the first day. This is just the first step.”

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Just a kid from Cavite trying to make a difference.

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