Manila, Philippines, May 23, 2024 – The Philippines gifted the sold-out crowd in Rizal Memorial Coliseum with a 3-1 victory (22-25, 25-19, 25-16, 25-21) against Australia in Pool A of the 2024 AVC Challenge Cup for Women. 

Avenging their 1-3 loss in the Surabaya edition in 2023, the home team delivered 59 attacks, 9 service winners and 7 blocks in Thursday’s main event at the Rizal Memorial Coliseum. 

The hosts set off to a solid start, as spectators roared to the power hits of Angel Anne Canino and Cherry Ann Rondina. 

Australia adjusted well, anticipating their opponents’ attack patterns to tighten their net defense. They read well and converted on kill blocks. 

Philippines captain and setter Julia De Guzman needed to open up the offense more, enabling Ejiya Laure from the flank. 

The Australian side carried on playing the middle where Kara Inskip could deliver in both block and quick kills.  Caitlin Tipping and Emma Burton helped further from the wings. Meanwhile, service mishaps did not help the hosts, with the Oceania winning the first set.

The home team needed to find a solution where they lagged, in block defense and in service precision. Thea Gagate and Mereophe Sharma found their rhythm in blocking while Vanessa  Gandler unleashed service winners during her short stint on court. This sequence signaled the change in the narrative of the match. 

Philippines found and settled into their rhythm, playing much tighter as a squad, where each hitter could deliver when called upon in transition. Australia turned to their substitute players to try and reset their system, but their opponents maintained their momentum closing out a 3-1 victory at home. 

“There were two important things that made the difference in this match. First, the mental aspect, where the team could reset and recover from trailing behind. This is what the Filipino heart is all about. On a technical standpoint, we did well in side-outs. It really helped that we could defend well on the floor so our transition plays were good,” said Philippines head coach Jorge Souza De Brito.

Philippines will face India in Friday’s main event scheduled at 19:00 local time while Australia resume play on Saturday, likewise against India at 16:00 local time. 

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