Alas Pilipinas off to roaring start

Joey Villar - The Philippine Star
Alas Pilipinas off to roaring start
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 aches for a feel-good story after so many heartaches in the international stage in the recent past.

Alas Pilipinas delivered one last night.

Energized by the loud, animated 6,000 fans that packed the Rizal Memorial Coliseum, the newly formed Filipinas showed promise as they chopped down the tall 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.

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

What was important was Alas Pilipinas not losing composure, plodding on and turning 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.

Meanwhile, Vietnam overcame a fierce second-set challenge by Singapore in a 25-8, 29-27, 25-10 victory that kept its back-to-back title bid going in the Asian Women’s Volleyball Challenge Cup at the Rizal Memorial Coliseum.

Earlier, Hong Kong bounced back from an opening-day loss with a 25-22, 26-24, 25-18 win over Indonesia in the tourney supported by Meralco, PLDT, Smart, Akari, AyalaLand, Nuvali, Foton, PSC, POC, Mikasa, Senoh, Asics, Maynilad, Makati Shangri-La, Rebisco, Cignal, OneSports, OneSports+ and Pilipinas Live.

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