Kazakhstan makes short work of Singapore in AVC Challenge Cup opener

Joey Villar - Philstar.com
Kazakhstan makes short work of Singapore in AVC Challenge Cup opener
AVC Photos

Games Thursday
(Rizal Memorial Coliseum)
10 a.m. - Indonesia vs Hong Kong
1 p.m. - Chinese Taipei vs India
4 p.m. - Vietnam vs Singapore
7 p.m. - Philippines vs Australia

MANILA, Philippines -- In most sports, especially volleyball, height is might.

And Kazakhstan made sure to flex fully and used it as a sword in cutting listless Singapore to pieces in a quick, unforgiving 25-15, 25-9, 25-17 victory Wednesday that jump-started its campaign in the Asian Women’s Volleyball Challenge Cup at the Rizal Memorial Coliseum in Manila.

Katrina Belova and skipper Sana Anarkulova, the tallest of them all at 6-2, presided over the carnage and unleashed 15 and 13 points, respectively, that gave the Kazakhs their first win and an early hold of the lead in Pool B.

It was a strong start for a Rishat Gilyazutdinov-mentored squad, ranked 44th in the world and whose last best finish was a silver medal-finish in the 2016 Asian Cup in  Vinh Phuc, Vietnam behind the great wall of China.

Kazakhstan is eyeing a ticket to the Women’s Challenger Cup -- which the Philippines will host from July 4-7 at the Ninoy Aquino Stadium -- and if the stars align, a berth to the prestigious FIVB Volleyball Women’s Nations League.

Meanwhile, Alas Pilipinas will get its chance to get a piece of the action as it clashes with Australia in the main game of the heavy four-game bill at 7 p.m. Thursday night.

The Filipinas will try to make a big impression before an expectedly animated hometown crowd even though they have already secured a slot to the Women’s Challenger Cup also set in the country.

Another motivation that the Jorge Souze de Brito-mentored squad could use was its stinging four-set defeat to the Aussies in the classification round in last year’s edition of this annual meet in Gresik, East Java, Indonesia.

“Expect us to try our best, be competitive no matter what and always there to fight,” said de Brito.

The team will be skippered by Jia de Guzman and bannered by a mix of veterans in Sisi Rondina, Cherry Nunag, Dawn Catindig and Dell Palomata, emerging stars Eya Laure, Vanie Gandler, Faith Nisperos, Fifi Sharma Jen Nierva, and collegiate standouts Angel Canino, Thea Gagate, Julia Coronel and Ara Panique.

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