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Alas Pilipinas

Almendras shines as Alas Men claim breakthrough against Indonesia in AVC Challenge Cup


Nico Almendras shone as Alas Pilipinas finally claimed their first win in the 2024 AVC Challenge Cup for Men, outlasting the youthful Indonesian side, 25-23, 23-25, 25-14, 25-22, to advance to the battle for ninth place on Wednesday evening (Manila time) at the Isa Sport City Hall in Bahrain.

The Philippines, which dropped to the classification round after losing to China and the host squad in pool play, will face the winner between Thailand and Chinese Taipei in the battle for ninth place.

Alas is aiming to surpass their 10th-place finish in the 2023 Challenge Cup.

“We’re very happy because of the win. We’re gonna improve our blockings even more and execute our transitions better in the next game,” said middle blocker Kim Malabunga, who had 12 points including six of the Philippines’ 15 blocks.

Almendras, who had only one point off the bench in pool play, scored four in the Philippines’ 8-1 run in the fourth set, turning an 8-10 deficit into a 16-11 lead en route to the breakthrough win.

The Indonesians rallied to within two late, 21-23, but Jade Disquitado made an off-the-block kill before a Marck Espejo service error. Almendras then finished it with a down-the-line hit for the victory in one hour and 54 minutes.

2024-AVC-Challenge-Cup-Philippines-def-Indonesia-Marck-Espejo Almendras shines as Alas Men claim breakthrough against Indonesia in AVC Challenge Cup Alas Pilipinas News Volleyball  - philippine sports news

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Losing in straight sets in both games during the preliminaries, the Nationals earned their first set win as 6-foot-6 opposite hitter Leo Ordiales came up clutch, drilling the final two points for Alas for the 25-23 opener, but Indonesia responded with its own 25-23 triumph in the second to equalize.

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But the Philippines regained momentum in the third and never let go of it.

Ahead by just two in the third frame, 16-14, Alas capped it with nine straight points, with Kim Malabunga, Disquitado, and Espejo conniving while also being aided by Indonesian errors, 25-14.

Almendras, who played only in the final two stanzas, finished with 10 points, including six in the fourth, while Espejo spearheaded Alas’ charge with 20 points on 17 attacks, two aces, and a block.

Disquitado and Malabunga also got 12 points apiece, with the latter nailing six of the Philippines’ 15 blocks.

Nineteen-year-old Yohanes Prasasti paced Indonesia with 18 points, while Fauzan Nibras, who just turned 16 last May 31, followed with 12 points.

Written By

Just a kid from Cavite trying to make a difference.


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