Next schedule for Alas Pilipinas after AVC Challenge Cup campaign

Alas Pilipinas celebrates its bronze medal finish in the AVC Challenge Cup 2024.

Alas Pilipinas celebrates its bronze medal finish in the AVC Challenge Cup 2024. –MARLO CUETO/

MANILA, Philippines — After making history in the AVC Challenge Cup 2024, the Alas Pilipinas women’s volleyball team looks to bank on its recent success with another crucial task at hand.

Up next: the FIVB Challenger Cup.

The Philippine team begins its journey to the FIVB Challenger Cup — a qualifier for the Volleyball Nations League — in July with a friendly match against the South Korea national volleyball team.

READ: Doorway to VNL awaits Alas Pilipinas after third-place feat

The Philippine women’s volleyball team earned its first-ever medal in the AVC since joining the confederation tournaments since 1961 after Alas swept Australia, 25-23, 25-15, 25-7, in the Challenge Cup’s bronze medal game on Wednesday at Rizal Memorial Coliseum.

Next tournaments

Alas Pilipinas during the AVC Challenge Cup 2024 battle for bronze game.

Alas Pilipinas during the AVC Challenge Cup 2024 battle for bronze game. –MARLO CUETO/

Alas Pilipinas will have the hometown crowd behind its back once again with the Philippines set to host the FIVB Volleyball Women’s Challenger Cup from July 4 to July 7 at Ninoy Aquino Stadium.

The Philippines qualified for the Challenger Cup by virtue of being the host nation. Here, Alas Pilipinas will face a tough challenge against the likes of Challenge Cup champion Vietnam, Argentina, Puerto Rico, and four other nations. 

This time, Alas Pilipinas has the luxury of a longer build-up, unlike in its campaign in the recently concluded Challenge Cup where the young team only got together barely a week before the tournament.

READ: Alas Pilipinas podium finish ushers in new era for PH volleyball

The Filipinos face South Korea in an exhibition match on June 7 in Daegu City in celebration of the 75th Diplomatic Relations between the two countries.

“That’s also a big experience for us. It will help us in our future international tournaments,” said team captain Jia De Guzman, who was named the AVC Challenge Cup’s Best Setter.

Alas Pilipinas is also set to compete in the SEA V.League in July and August.

The busy international schedule for the women’s national team is all geared towards ending a 20-year medal drought in the Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games) with the 33rd edition set for next year in Thailand.

Intact roster?

After achieving the country’s best finish in any AVC tournament, De Guzman hopes for more preparation and intact roster for the upcoming international tournaments.

She might just get her wish.

READ: For just P15,000 each to play, Alas Pilipinas players earn fans’ hearts

Philippine National Volleyball Federation president Tats Suzara on Thursday vowed to keep the winning line-up intact, but also include other pool members UAAP Season 86 MVP Bella Belen and Finals MVP Alyssa Solomon as well as University of the East star rookie Casiey Dongallo, who weren’t able to play in the Challenge Cup.

Add the trio to the young and promising roster led by De Guzman, Challenge Cup Best Opposite Spiker Angel Canino, Sisi Rondina and Eya Laure along with Fifi Sharma, Thea Gagate, Dawn Macandili-Catindig, Cherry Nunag, Dell Palomata, Faith Nisperos, Jennifer Nierva, Arah Panique, Julia Coronel, and Vanie Gandler.

“This is a big milestone but at the same time, we also had milestones before we weren’t able to get  momentum so that’s what we’re praying for now,” said De Guzman, who has been representing the country since 2015.

READ: Jia De Guzman relishes playing with ‘talented’ Alas Pilipinas

“This really didn’t start with us, there were years before us but hopefully we get continuous support so we can keep on playing and improve as a team.”

This may just be the beginning of bigger things for the national volleyball team program in the Philippines, with plans to put up a regular national team pool according to one of the key stakeholders in the sport.

“As early as now we’re hoping that this team will stay together and develop into a really, really good team with 14 players. We’re looking at 20 to 24 players so that if there’s injury, we can have a replacement right away and they train together all the time,” Ricky Palou told Inquirer Sports in a separate interview.

Next Alas Pilipinas coach

Alas Pilipinas Jorge Souza de Brito

Alas Pilipinas coach Jorge Souza de Brito. –MARLO CUETO/

Outgoing national team coach Jorge Souza De Brito had a big hand Alas Pilipinas’ recent success in the AVC Challenge Cup 2024–which he had said would be his last tournament before stepping down.

The Brazilian coach earlier revealed to the Inquirer that he was set to leave his post by the end of his contract on June 30, as he has also been assigned to Chinese Taipei under the FIVB empowerment program.

However, the recent AVC  tournament has prompted the PNVF to appeal to De Brito as head coach of the women’s program.

“We’ve always trusted Coach Jorge and Alas Pilipinas’s historic accomplishment in this AVC Challenge Cup is testament to his world-class skills as coach,” Suzara said.

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There is no official announcement yet on whether De Brito is staying or another coach will be tapped to lead the young team in the upcoming tournaments.

De Brito, third-year national team coach, though said he is keen on staying in Manila to keep serving the the Philippines.