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Tiebreaker Times

2024 AVC Challenge Cup for Women

Heartbreaking Loss: Alas drops semis to Kazakhstan in AVC Challenge Cup


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 on Tuesday evening 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.

AVC-2024-Semis-Philippines-vs.-Kazakhstan-Arah-Panique-7915 Heartbreaking Loss: Alas drops semis to Kazakhstan in AVC Challenge Cup 2024 AVC Challenge Cup for Women Alas Pilipinas News Volleyball  - philippine sports news

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.

AVC-2024-Semis-Philippines-vs.-Kazakhstan-Angel-Canino-8095 Heartbreaking Loss: Alas drops semis to Kazakhstan in AVC Challenge Cup 2024 AVC Challenge Cup for Women Alas Pilipinas News Volleyball  - philippine sports news

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 4:00 PM 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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Kazakhstan raced to a big lead out of the gates, building a 21-10 advantage, but that did not extinguish the fight in the Philippines.

Panique revitalized her side, scoring six in their 12-2 blast to inch to just a point, 22-23. But Sana Anarkulova drilled the crucial hits to give her side the first set, 25-23.

AVC-2024-Semis-Philippines-vs.-Kazakhstan-7718 Heartbreaking Loss: Alas drops semis to Kazakhstan in AVC Challenge Cup 2024 AVC Challenge Cup for Women Alas Pilipinas News Volleyball  - philippine sports news

A service error by Margarita Belchenko allowed the Nationals to be within just two late in the second, 21-23, but 6-foot-1 Svetlana Nikolayeva and 6-foot-2 Anarkulova hammered back-to-back kills for the commanding 2-0 cushion.

That momentum never wavered as the Kazakhs left the Filipinos in the dust in the third. Anarkulova, Nikolayeva, Kristina Anikonova, and Yuliya Yakimova led them to victory in one hour and 31 minutes.

Anarkulova, Kazakhstan’s team captain, led by example with 19 points on 18-of-27 attacks and one block, while Nikolayeva chipped in 11 points.

Belchenko and Anikonova also contributed eight points apiece for the victors.

The Philippines were not left behind in spiking and serving departments, 39-43 and 3-4, respectively, but were out-blocked (8-3) and committed 20 errors compared to their opponents’ 13.

Written By

Just a kid from Cavite trying to make a difference.


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