June 25, 2024

AVC: Alas Pilipinas' perfect run ends with a heartbreaker to Kazakhstan

AVC: Alas Pilipinas
Alas Pilipinas falter over Kazakhstan in semifinals. | Photo (c) RM Chua/One Sports

The dream run of Alas Pilipinas came to a screeching halt on Tuesday, May 28.


A courageous Philippines stand slowly fell apart in the face of a methodical thrust by the towering Kazakhstan, 23-25, 21-25, 14-25, at the Rizal Memorial Coliseum in Manila.


The Filipinas struggled right out of the gates, as the Kazakhs imposed their will above the net and took a commanding 22-12 lead. 


In need of a spark plug, Jia De Guzman turned to Arah Panique, who scored thrice in a 4-0 run that trimmed the deficit down to 16-22. Kazakhstan managed to stop the bleeding, but Panique once again rattled off three straight points to drag Philippines to within two, 21-23.


Angel Canino tried to complete the come-from-behind effort with two consecutive hits, but Sana Anarkulova had a riposte to seal the opening frame.


In the second set, Alas Pilipinas stayed in step with the Kazakhs until the latter pulled away, turning an 11-10 edge into a 21-16 advantage. 


A string of Kazakhstan errors and timely aces from Fifi Sharma and De Guzman allowed the Philippines to close in, but Svetlana Nikolayeva and Anarkulova thwarted the comeback hopes of the Filipinas for a second straight time.


Come the decisive third set, the Kazakhs smelled blood, mounting a commanding 23-14 cushion. The Filipinas then committed a costly rotational error to surrender match point, before Kazakhstan nailed a clutch running attack play to clinch the last finals berth.

 

Anarkulova spearheaded Kazakhstan with 19 points built on 18 attacks and a block, while Nikolayeva provided ample support with 11 markers.


Margarita Belchenko anchored above the net with half of her eight points coming from blocks, while Kristina Anikonova pitched in eight markers of her own.


Alas, on the other hand, strung 14 points from Panique, who scattered 10 attacks, three rejections, and an ace.


Canino put up nine points, all coming from spikes, while Sisi Rondina managed to score eight.


Sharma had six markers, while Eya Laure and Thea Gagate were limited to three points each.


Philippines will aim to secure a spot on the podium when it takes on Australia in the battle for third, while Kazakhstan will attempt to dethrone Vietnam in the title bout. 


Both matches will be held tomorrow, May 29, at the same venue.