De Guzman elated over international return

Jia de Guzman is happy to finally don the national jersey in the Asian Volleyball Confederation Cup for Women late Tuesday at the Philsports Arena.

De Guzman said she is glad to lead the Nationals, who absorbed a tough 16-25, 22-25, 20-25 loss to China in their second game of the preliminaries.

Meanwhile, Vietnam sent South Korea to the brink of eliminations following a 25-13, 25-13, 25-16 victory in Pool A action.

The victory was the Vietnamese’s second in three matches while the Koreans have yet to win in three games, putting them in a must-win situation when they battle the Philippines on Thursday.

The Philippines, for its part, is still clashing with Iran at press time for a spot in the next round.

The AVC Cup is De Guzman’s first stint since seeing action in the 30th Southeast Asian Games that the country hosted in 2019.

She was supposed to compete in the 31st SEA Games in Hanoi but had to sit out after failing to join the tryouts set by the Philippine National Volleyball Federation.

Then, she was placed under health protocols shortly after leading Creamline to the Premier Volleyball League Invitational Conference title, prompting her to miss their opening battle against Vietnam last Sunday.

After getting cleared, De Guzman is finally back in action and led the Nationals to a strong performance against the Chinese.

“It feels great to represent the flag again,” said De Guzman, a mainstay in the national team program.

“We gave our best for today’s (Tuesday) game. Going up against China, to be able to stick with them for the most part of the game is something that we can be proud of.”

“We always say with my teammates, it is always a privilege to represent the flag the best we can. And we’re going into this campaign with everything we’ve learned these past few years as a team. So, we’re just praying for everyone’s kind support.”

Even China’s head coach Kuang Qi said he expected a tough match against the Philippines.

“We think today’s match is going to be hard,” said Kuang, whose team remains undefeated in three games.

“I think all of the players are very good. They were very enthusiastic about volleyball.”

With the second set tied at 22, the Chinese managed to score three straight points capped by an attack error by PVL Most Valuable player Tots Carlos.

The Philippines took a 17-14 lead in the third set before China squared the count at 19, gaining enough momentum to score the next six points to seal the victory.

Despite the loss, national team head coach Sherwin Meneses remains positive that they will get over the hump and notch their first victory.

“We are very proud of our team’s showing. They performed well. The players didn’t give up. Hopefully we could carry this in our last two games,” Meneses said, looking for a win that will send them to the next round of this prestigious continental tournament.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *