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2024 VNL Season

Team USA cherishes ‘awesome’ meet-up with Alas Pilipinas


By: Ernest Tuazon

Team USA was filled with joy after their brief interaction with the members of the Alas Pilipinas men’s and women’s teams on Friday, June 21, at the Shangri-La Hotel in Makati.

USA volleyball stars TJ Defalco, Micah Christenson, and Erik Shoji relished a ‘cool’ conversation with Alas Men’s outside hitter Bryan Bagunas, setter Joshua Retamar, and Alas Women’s Vanie Gandler, Fifi Sharma, and team captain Jia Morado-De Guzman.

“It was awesome. Just to get to talk to them and listen to their experiences… They are all really good people and it was cool we were able to meet them,” Christenson said.

Christenson added that he encouraged Alas Pilipinas to cheer for Team USA ahead of their clash against a Ran Takahashi-less and fan-favorite Japan side on the last day of the 2024 FIVB Volleyball Nations League Manila leg.

VNL-2024-Micah-Christenson Team USA cherishes ‘awesome’ meet-up with Alas Pilipinas 2024 VNL Season Alas Pilipinas News Volleyball  - philippine sports news“We also talked about who they are going to cheer for between Japan and us tomorrow, so we put a little bit of pressure on them to cheer for us, but it was great,” he said.

The 31-year-old setter also met and conversed with Alas setters Retamar and Morado-De Guzman.

“I talked to the two guy players and the setter; we talked about setting a little bit. And also with the three women’s team players, we shared food together. It was a really cool experience; it was just like we’re friends, you know? It was really informal and felt really friendly,” Christenson said.

Defalco seized the opportunity not only to talk to Alas Pilipinas but also to meet and be exposed to players from another team, country, and culture.

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“It was awesome to see another team, players from another team, and another country. Being exposed to players from a country like this is amazing; to see some of the culture and being exposed to it is amazing,” Defalco said.

“We kind of conversed with all of them. It was a quick turnaround to get to know each other and ask each other some questions; it was a great time,” he added.

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