Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar, April 4, 2017 – Japan and Korea became the two unbeaten teams to meet in the final showdown of the SMM 11th Asian Boys’ U19 Volleyball Championship at the Wunna Theikdi Indoor Stadium following their wins in the Tuesday’s semi-finals, with Korea stunning title-holders Iran in hard-fought five-set thriller.
Japan stun China in giant-killing match to storm into final with unbeaten record
Smaller, but steadier, Japan, the only team in the top-notch competition which have yet lost a set to their respective rivals en route to the semi-final encounter, turned a giant killer after their exceptional straight-set 25-16 29-27 25-22 win over tall and towering China.
Kento Miyaura scored a match-high 19 points including 17 kills from 36 attempts, while Mahiro Saeki contributed 15 points through his deadly attacks. Zhang Jingyin topscored with 17 points for China. Tian Cong added 11 kills and one ace serve.
Japan’s head coach Hiroshi Honda was satisfied with his team’s dazzling performance, giving credit of the team’s success to their teamwork. “It’s great for Japan to win this tough match against China to play in the final again. However, I think that it was very difficult to play the Chinese. They are tall with high blocks, but our teamwork worked out pretty well. China’s reception was not good this time and they came up with blocks we could overcome with high touch. However, the key to our team’s victory was that we can block well and had good reception. Against Korea or Iran in the Wednesday’s final, we have to do our best.”
It’s two times in a row that Japan made it to the final of this biennial tournament. At the previous edition in Sri Lanka in 2014, Japan also made it to the final round, only beaten by powerhouses Iran in the showdown.
Iran stunned by old foes Korea to lose their Asian Boys’ U19 title
Fired-up Korea, powered by ace spiker Im Donghyeok, repeatedly stunned defending and seven-time champions Iran in hard-fought five-set thriller 25-19 25-22 23-25 16-25 15-9 in the thrilling semi-final clash to go up against unbeaten Japan in the final showdown.
Im Donghyeok scored a match-high 41 points including 39 kills from 73 attempts, while Morteza Sharifi topscored with 30 points for Iran including 23 kills, 4 stuff blocks and 3 ace serves. Ali Tabari contributed 18 attack hits.
After the match, Korea’s team manager Park Wongil said, “It was a tough match. For the first and second sets, our team did very well. It seemed like our team could not do what they had to do in the third and fourth sets. In the third set in particular, Iran led 5-0 and I think it was because our team members were mentally broken. In the fifth set, we led all the ways and we eventually won it. We next take on Japan. We have yet played the Japanese, but they beat China in straight sets. It must be a tough match out there against Japan. We will do our best.”
Chinese Taipei down Australia 3-1 to fight it out against Thailand in 5th-6th playoff
Chinese Taipei, mixing the excellent offensive combination of spectacular spikes from Huang Shih-Chan and Chang Yu-Sheng and the 198cm-Kan Ming-Hsiu’s good blocks, pulled off a dramatic 3-1 (25-19 25-15 19-5 25-21) win over Australia in the 5th-8th playoff match.
Huang Shih-Chan topscored with 17 points for Chinese Taipei, while Chang Yu-Sheng added three ace serves. Thomas Heptinstall led Australia with 15 points including 11 kills from 41 attempts. He also had 3 ace serves, while Jayden Fathers and Ryan Dagg added 3 points apiece from kill blocks.
“I’m glad that my players won the match, but truly speaking, they played according to their training. I think Australia were not at their best today. They played much better in the match against China. We trained only one month in preparation for this tournament. Against Thailand on Wednesday, we will analyze their team’s performance and we will do our best in that match,” Chinese Taipei’s head coach Chuang Shih-Hsien commented after the match.
Thailand see off Myanmar in straight sets in 5th-8th playoff encounter
Thailand, which have already beaten the host side in comfortable straight sets in their playoff encounter in the round of the last eight teams, had a field day in their 5th-8th playoff match against Myanmar, thrashing the host side in a one-sided battle 25-15, 25-18 25-17.
Supakorn Jenthaisong led Thailand with 9 points including 3 ace serves. Pipit Chansuksri contributed 8 kills from 18 attempts, while Khoisan Phoonsang and Nantawat Jhuasanthia handed the team 3 points apiece through their kill blocks. Ya Htike Wai collected 19 points for Myanmar.
After the match, Thailand’s head coach Somboon Nakpung said, “Since we have already played Myanmar, we learned their system. We just tried to improve our mistakes we made from the previous matches. We won’t see the other teams, we just concentrate on what we are doing and how we can get rid of our unforced mistakes. We learned that now we can’t make the cut for the world meet, what we can do is to do our best in the remaining matches.”
On Wednesday, the final day of the competition, hosts Myanmar play Australia in the 7th-8th place playoff, Thailand and Chinese Taipei will battle it out for the 5th position. China will challenge Iran in the third-place playoff and Japan will go up against Korea in the final showdown.
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