Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar, March 28, 2017 – In-form Thailand got off to a convincing start after thrashing Sri Lanka in a comfortable straight-set encounter 25-10 25-15 25-23 in the SMM 11th Asian Boys’ U19 Volleyball Championship at the Wunna Theikdi Indoor Stadium Hall B on Tuesday.
Thailand, which did not send their team to the previous edition in Sri Lanka three years ago, fielded a strong line-up led by powerful Pipat Chansuksri and Chaiwat Thungkham. Thailand had no trouble closing out an easy first set 25-10, thanks to their excellent teamwork and solid defence.
The second set was still dominated by Thailand despite a challenge from the Sri Lankans powered by Mahela Bandara Jayalath. The Thai boys took the rivals to school with their exceptional tactics and form to win the set 25-15.
In the third set, Thailand gained the upper hand to take an initial 8-5 lead, but the Sri Lankans did not want to surrender easily, hitting back gallantly to catch the tough opponents at 10-10 and surge ahead 12-10. To improve their tactics, the Thai side replaced setter Danupat Jantawong with Kajonsak Maokhuntod. Their decision worked out pretty well as Thailand started to turn the heat on Sri Lanka, closing the margin at 15-15 and went on their aggression to advance 23-21. Their confidence boosted, the Sri Lankans started to produce the goods. They caught the Thais at 23-23. Nonetheless, Thailand held their nerves and stormed back to win the remaining two points for the eventual 25-23 win in the set and match.
Khomsan Phoonsang contributed 12 points for Thailand including 7 kills and 3 stuff blocks. Chaiwat Thungkham added 8 points through his attacks and Kajonsak Maokhuntod handed the team 4 block points. Mahela Bandara Jayalath led Sri Lanka with 15 points including 13 ace spikes.
“We performed well in the first two sets. Everything went smoothly as expected. Our defence, attack and blocks lived up to all expectations. We just lost our concentration in the middle of the third set, coming up with unforced mistakes. We just regained our form at the near end of the set to win the match. I myself set the team’s target of making it to the top four in the championship. If we can maintain our form to beat Japan coming Thursday, I think our chance of advancing to the top four is possible,” Thailand’s head coach Somboon Nakpung commented.
“We have been training quite well for two months, especially on attacks. Only their concentration and willing to win will be the two factors to decide their fate in this championship. Our strong point is the combination attacks,” he added.