Philippines go up against Thailand and Indonesia face off against Vietnam in the do-or-die semifinals
Bangkok, Thailand, May 12, 2023 – After three days of pool plays, Thailand and Vietnam became the only two unbeaten teams to remain on course for the title in the 32nd Southeast Asian (SEA ) Games Women’s Volleyball Tournament at the Olympic Complex Indoor Main Hall in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
Thailand, current world No.15 and consecutive two-time Asian silver medallists, made a perfect sweep in Pool A with all straight-set victories against Indonesia, Myanmar and Malaysia, while archrivals Vietnam also captured the top spot in Pool B with all straight-set wins against Singapore, Philippines and Cambodia.
In Pool A, Thailand, which captured the Asian crown in 2009 and 2013 aside from a 8-place finish at the last year’s FIVB Women’s Volleyball Nations League, sent a strong roster to the Phnom Penh-hosted SEA Games. They comprised those who played professional leagues overseas including hard-hitting Chatchu-on Moksri and Ajcharaporn Kongyot in Turkey and Thatdao Nuekjang, Hattaya Bamrungsuk, Thanacha Sooksod and Pimpichaya Kokram in Japan.
Reigning champions Thailand, which had already claimed 15 SEA Games titles to their name including successive 13 times kicked off their title defence campaign with an exceptional 3-0 (25-16, 25-16, 25-16) win against the 1983 winners Indonesia on May 9, the opening day of the tournament.
In their second match the following day, the Thai team methodically tore the Myanmar defence apart with their mighty attacks to demolish the less-experienced rivals 3-0 (25-8, 25-8, 25-6) in a totally one-sided battle for two wins in a row.
In their last preliminary Pool A match on May 11, Thailand continued their winning streak to brush off Malaysia in another lopsided affair (25-12, 25-14, 25-15) to stay atop Pool A.
In Pool B, Vietnam fielded a formidable team which early this month made history for Vietnam volleyball. Playing under the Sport Center 1’s banner, they became the Vietnam’s first ever club to win the Asian Women’s Club Championship following their epic 3-2 comeback win on home soil against former consecutive two-time Thailand League champions Diamond Food Fine Chef-Air Force in the highly-anticipated final showdown at the packed 3,000-seater Vinh Phuc Gymnasium, ending the country’s 22-year gold medal drought since Vietnam made its debut in the 2001 championship as the host nation.
In the 32nd edition in Phnom Penh, Vietnam, powered by star spiker Tran Thi Thanh Thuy, 193cm, hard-hitting Hoang Thi Kieu Trinh and Vi Thi Nhu Quynh, made a solid start with 3-0 (25-13, 25-8, 25-7) triumph over Singapore on May 9 before powering past Philippines 3-0 (25-20, 25-17, 25-19) the following day and crushing hosts Cambodia in a completely one-sided affair 25-7, 25-7, 25-5 to dominate Pool B.
After end of the three-day pool round-robin preliminaries, Thailand topped Pool A with 9 points from three straight wins, followed by Indonesia with 6 points from 2 wins against one loss. Malaysia had 3 points from one win against two losses to come in third place in Pool A, while winless Myanmar finished fourth with no points awarded.
Pool B was dominated by Vietnam with 9 points from three wins in a row. Philippines finished second with 6 points from two wins against one loss, while Singapore collected 3 points from one win against two losses and hosts Cambodia had no points from three straight losses to finish third and fourth places respectively.
With only top two teams from each pool advancing, Thailand and Indonesia from Pool A and Vietnam and Philippines from Pool B made the cut for the do-or-die semifinals. Lower-ranked sides from both pools, Malaysia and Myanmar from Pool A and Singapore and Cambodia from Pool B, were relegated to classification round for 5th-8th places.
On Saturday, the penultimate day of the indoor volleyball competition in this year’s 32nd SEA Games, Thailand set up a thrilling clash with former 6-time champions Philippines, andVietnam, eyeing their unprecedented SEA Games title after picking up silver for 10 times including the last two editions, go up against Indonesia in the highly-anticipated semifinals.
Earlier, Malaysia will take on hosts Cambodia and Singapore play Myanmar in the classification round for 5th-8th places.
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