Alas Pilipinas takes down taller Aussies for rousing AVC Challenge Cup debut

Joey Villar - Philstar.com
Alas Pilipinas takes down taller Aussies for rousing AVC Challenge Cup debut
Siri Rondina of Alas Pilipinas attacks the defense of Australia during the AVC Challenge Cup at the Rizal Memorial Coliseum in Manila.
STAR / Russell Palma

MANILA, Philippines – Philippine volleyball is desperately aching for a feel-good story after so many heartaches in the international stage in the recent past.

Alas Pilipinas delivered one Thursday night.

Energized by the loud and animated 6,000 fans that packed the Rizal Memorial Coliseum in Manila, the newly formed Filipinas showed promise of a better future as they chopped down the taller Australians in a 22-25, 25-19, 25-16, 25-21 win that jump-started their AVC Challenge Cup bid.

It was the first victory for the Jorge Souza de Brito-mentored squad, which came into the duel all motivated despite having a short preparation.

And it showed early as the host nation showed tenacity from start to finish.

Forget about the Nationals’ blowing a 21-18 lead in the opening set.

What was important was the country didn’t lose composure, plodded on and turned things around with its nearly impenetrable net defense, rock-solid floor defense and relentless attacking.

It produced so many heroes, with setter Jia de Guzman as the biggest of them all as the battle-scarred internationalist provided the steadying presence for a team composed mainly of young guns.

When Sisi Rondina delivered the coup de grace — a spectacular spike that hit an empty space in the back — the atmosphere had turned from festive to electric as the crowd erupted in celebration.

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