Alas Pilipinas Falls To Powerful Daegu In Korea Exhibition

Sometimes You Learn: Alas Pilipinas Falls to Gutsy Powerful Daegu in Korea Exhibition

Alas Pilipinas can still learn a lot from this exhibition game in Korea despite losing in five sets against the Powerful Daegu.

In an unexpected dogfight, Alas Pilipinas dropped a five-setter against the Powerful Daegu, 26-24, 23-25, 23-25, 25-15, 8-15, in their Serve-Spike-Unite! exhibition in Daegu City, Korea on Friday. 

After overcoming a tight-knit opener, the Nationals seemed ready to widen the gap in the second set, carving out a 14-9 advantage over the Korean club team. 

However, Powerful Daegu would produce a major turnaround, outscoring Alas 14-9, partly aided by the Filipinas’ errors — to steal the second set in convincing fashion.

Alas, though, nearly gave the Koreans a taste of their own medicine in Set 3, overcoming a 15-9 deficit before dropping another 23-25 set. Eventually, the Nationals would assert their might in Set 4, banking on Arah Panique and Angel Canino for a 25-16 set to force a fifth set. 

This would prove to be the last for Alas, as the Powerful Daegu proved to be the better team in the 15-8 decider.

If anything, this was a well-deserved victory for the Daegu, who successfully upheld Korean pride in the friendly match. On top of bringing their A-game, the club team also exposed Alas’ weaknesses once they recomposed themselves after a so-so start.

There was also the hustle of their floor defense, led by libero Hyun-Ji Lee. Besides being able to receive Alas’ spikes, Lee and the Daegu showed exceptional commitment in trying to save otherwise dead balls to keep a rally alive. 

Back to the drawing board for Alas 

Inevitably, it’s back to the drawing board for Alas Pilipinas after this Korea exhibition. Thanks to Daegu’s Hyun-Ji Lee, it was clear that the Filipinas still struggle against heavy serving teams. 

The biggest indicator was Korea’s countless service aces, recording more than five on Friday. If it wasn’t an ace, then it would be a poor first-ball reception for Alas, which consequently disrupts their potent offense. 

Alas Pilipinas Korea: Group
It’s now up to this squad to resolve what was exposed by the Powerful Daegu. (Photo Credit: Asian Volleyball Confederation)

Alas also had a share of service errors against the Daegu, with a number of those unintentionally hitting the net. While external factors such as game ball (Mikasa/FIVB official game balls weren’t used) played a part, the issue has already plagued the Filipinas throughout the AVC Challenge Cup last May.

Of course, this isn’t to discredit the Filipinas’ intention, as these shorthanded serves could have been meant to disrupt the Koreans’ fast-paced offense. 

On the bright side…

On a positive note, the Nationals still showed hints of why they had a deep AVC Challenge Cup run last May. Jia de Guzman’s setting is as sharp as ever on good receptions, while Alas’ net defense seems to be a key strength early on. 

Angel Canino, regardless of position, also remains this Alas team’s top scorer, scoring around 19 points on Friday.

Their bench unit continues to prove itself. Particularly, Faith Nisperos and Arah Panique made the most out of their expanded opportunities against the Daegu, as the usual starters Eya Laure and Sisi Rondina took a break.

Offensively, Nisperos seemed to reintroduce herself with 15 points, scoring six alone in the opener (again, by our count). While she has a ways to go, Panique also showed flashes of potential with her own 15-point effort, including three service aces. 

Regardless, this Korea exhibition game will only help Alas Pilipinas in the long run. With the FIVB Women’s Challenger Cup coming up, a heartbreaker like this could give the squad sound direction on what they need to prioritize ahead of that tilt. 

There’s also the continued chemistry building for the Nationals, something that will only be improved through countless games and continuity. 

Banner Image courtesy of the Asian Volleyball Confederation.

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