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2024 AVC Challenge Cup for Women

Jia De Guzman praises Alas unpredictability: ‘Our bench is deep and ready’

Team captain Jia De Guzman believes that Alas Pilipinas Women is heading to the semifinal of the 2024 AVC Challenge Cup with an element of unpredictability, following spectacular performances from its reserves in the past two games.

Different players from the bench stepped up in their final two games of the group phase, which they eventually swept to claim the top seed in Pool A with a perfect 4-0 standing.

“The bench is pretty deep. So, kahit sino sa amin ready pumasok, ready mag deliver kahit si Julia Coronel as a setter. It’s good for us kasi at least we’re a bit more unpredictable para sa kalaban,” said the eight-time PVL Best Setter.

After going 2-0 in the group stage, Alas Pilipinas head coach Jorge Souza de Brito and his coaching staff decided to mix things up to give their starters much-needed rest.

With this, Vanie Gandler, Faith Nisperos, Cherry Nunag, and Jennifer Nierva seized the opportunity to shine and helped the Philippines secure convincing victories over Iran last Saturday and Chinese Taipei yesterday.

De Guzman said that the team, composed of UAAP and PVL stars, balances itself out and has a good mix of energy and composure, which have played a key role in its current success.

AVC-2024-Philippines-vs.-Taiwan-Jia-De-Guzman-6000 Jia De Guzman praises Alas unpredictability: 'Our bench is deep and ready' 2024 AVC Challenge Cup for Women Alas Pilipinas News Volleyball  - philippine sports news“I think, like what we’ve mentioned, we have a good mix of young players and veterans na sobrang naba-balance ang isa’t isa. It’s a good blend of fire, energy, and composure, like I’ve said before,” said the six-time PVL champion.

“So, ‘yun, tina-try namin i-maintain ‘yun hanggang sa dulo, and learn from our past games din kasi good training ground talaga ‘yung elimination round for us, so hopefully better results kami going into the next round,” she added.

The 29-year-old playmaker, who recently played for the Denso Airybees in the Japan V.League, is very proud of her squad after being the first national team in 63 years to reach the semifinals of any Asian Volleyball Confederation tournament.

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As proud as she is, De Guzman said that the job is not yet done for the Philippines as they will take on Kazakhstan in the knockout semifinal on Tuesday at 7:00 p.m. at the same venue.

“Feels great sobrang proud ko sa naabot ng team namin. Hindi madali ang pinagdaanan namin, at alam namin hindi magiging madali ‘yung pagdadaanan namin in the future kasi ibang level na rin ang semifinals. So, we’re just going in with a positive mindset,” said De Guzman.

“Kazakhstan is a very strong team, very tall also. So medyo nakaranas naman kami ng matangkad at malakas na teams in our bracket, and ine-expect namin bukas sa training na ‘yung paghahandaan namin with Coach Jorge.”

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