PNVF looks to keep Alas Pilipinas roster with NU stars, Dongallo

Alas Pilipinas players celebrate after beating Australia again to claim the bronze medal in the AVC Challenge Cup 2024

Alas Pilipinas players celebrate after beating Australia again to claim the bronze medal in the AVC Challenge Cup 2024. –MARLO CUETO/

MANILA, Philippines — Philippine National Volleyball Federation (PNVF) plans to keep the Alas Pilipinas bronze medal team including pool members who didn’t play in the AVC Challenge Cup for the long haul.

The federation is looking to heed the call of the players and coach Jorge Souza De Brito to keep them together for future international tournaments including the 33rd Southeast Asian Games in Thailand next year, where the Philippines tries to end a 20-year medal drought. 

That roster moving forward would include UAAP  stars Bella Belen, Alyssa Solomon, and Casiey Dongallo, who all begged off playing in the Challenge Cup.

READ: Next schedule for Alas Pilipinas after AVC Challenge Cup campaign

“The intention is to keep this team intact with additional athletes from the college ranks,” Suzara said afyer congratulation Alas Pilipinas for its historic bronze medal in the Challenge Cup.

“It’s a breakthrough, it’s historic, and the obvious next step is to keep this team intact and make it stronger and much more competitive.”

“And next year, in the SEA Games, I believe we’ll have a very strong fighting chance,” he added.

Suzara believes the roster, led by Challenge Cup Best Setter Jia De Guzman and Best Opposite Spiker Angel Canino as well as Sisi Rondina, Eya Laure, Fifi Sharma, Thea Gagate, Dawn Macandili-Catindig, Cherry Nunag, Dell Palomata, Faith Nisperos, Jennifer Nierva, Arah Panique, Julia Coronel, and Vanie Gandler, is a “potent mix.”

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

The nationals missed the services of UAAP Season 86 MVP Belen and Finals MVP Solomon due to fatigue from their finals series against the University of Santo Tomas, while Dongallo injured her arm days before the tournament. But the trio is still part of Alas’ long-term plan.

Suzara also reiterated that the federation wanted Jorge Edson Souza de Brito to remain as head coach of the women’s program. The Brazilian is due to end his tour of duty in the country on June 30 and has been assigned to Chinese Taipei under the FIVB empowerment program.

De Brito is serving out the last of his three-year FIVB contract and saved his best for last, steering a team, formed barely two weeks before the tournament, to a podium finish.

Alas Pilipinas is set to play a friendly against the South Korean national volleyball team on June 7 ahead of its upcoming hosting of the FIVB Challenger Cup — a qualifier for the Volleyball Nations League — from July 4 to July 7 at Ninoy Aquino Stadium.

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The national team will also compete in the SEA V League in July and August.