All out for glory

Joey Villar - The Philippine Star
All out for glory
The Alas Pilipinas belles celebrate a point win in their 25-13, 25-21, 25-18 victory over Chinese Taipei to complete group stage sweep Sunday
STAR / File

Philippine belles go for broke vs Kazakhs

MANILA, Philippines — Alas Pilipinas tries to stretch its fairytale ride all the way to the medal plays of the AVC Women’s Challenge Cup, hoping to defy a giant of a rival in Kazakhstan in their semifinal face-off at the Rizal Memorial Coliseum tonight.

Surpassing expectations despite a short preparation, the Filipinas have accomplished what was once unimaginable after they swept Pool A in four games that catapulted them to the semifinals for the first time.

The group stage juggernaut has spurred hope that this is just the beginning of a renaissance for the Philippine national volleyball team that has been in the gutter for decades.

Thanks to these brave league of extraordinary gentle ladies, those days may be over now.

In the crossover semis set at 7 p.m., Jorge Souza de Brito’s merry bunch will get a chance at doing what this volleyball-crazy nation hasn’t done for a long time – capture a medal in the international stage.

The last time the Phl team gained podium honors was in the 2005 Southeast Asian Games in Manila when it snared a bronze.

But first, Alas Pilipinas, which has climbed the FIVB world rankings ladder from 62nd to 57th, most recently 55th following its onslaught of triumphs, must find a way to beat world No. 30 and Pool B No. 2 Kazakhstan.

A win would ensure the hosts a podium finish and a crack at a first gold on the international stage against either defending champion and Pool B winner Vietnam or Pool A No. 2 Australia.

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