Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar, August 4, 2019 – Chinese Taipei and Pakistan, the only two teams yet losing a single set to their respective rivals in the 3d Asian Men’s U23 Volleyball Championship at the Wunna Theikdi Indoor Stadium here, will battle it out in Pool C, as strong teams remained unscathed.

After two days of the pool round-robin preliminaries, Australia, Japan, Chinese Taipei, Pakistan and India continued their unbeaten streak with two wins in succession, enhancing their chances of advancing to the round of the top eight teams.

On Sunday, Australia, which thrashed Sri Lanka in straight sets on the previous day, rallied past Hong Kong China in four sets 25-13 23-25 25-21 25-16 to capture their second win in Pool A of this top-flight championship.

The other Pool A encounter saw hosts Myanmar, which got off to a flying start with a straight-set win against Hong Kong China in the curtain-raisers the previous day, succumb to their first defeat at the hands of Sri Lanka after going down in dramatic four-setter 25-18 26-28 19-25 14-25.

“Today we played against a fast team with quick styles. They are experienced and strong, but we pressured them by our blocks. Tomorrow, we will play Hong Kong China and take the chance to advance to the second round,” Sri Lanka head coach, Jayasekara Channa said after the match.

Kavindu Chandrasiri emerged as Sri Lanka’s top scorer with 17 points and team-mate Rehan Fernando added 12 points. Aung Zaw Htet scored a match-high 27 points including 25 kills in a losing effort of helping the host side win this crucial match.

In Pool B, Vietnam, going down to Kazakhstan 0-3 in their opening clash the previous day, recovered to beat Saudi Arabia in hard-fought three-setter 30-28 25-21 25-22 on Sunday.

Japan, fresh from beating Saudi Arabia 3-0 in their first match on Saturday, continued their unbeaten record with an impressive 3-1 (25-15, 21-25, 25-18, 25-22) win against Kazakhstan. The two successive wins have brightened the Japan’s chances of making the cut for the next round. More importantly, without defending consecutive two-time champions Iran in contention for the title, Japan, silver medallists at the previous edition in Ardabil, Iran two years ago, stand a good chance of reaching new heights this time.

Chinese Taipei, which won their first match against Bahrain in comfortable straight sets, bagged another straight-set 25-14 25-20 25-12 win over Qatar in Pool C, while Bahrain are assured of being relegated to 9th-16th classification as they had already suffered two straight losses including the 21-25 21-25 15-25 letdown to Pakistan.

Fahad Reza chipped in with 18 points for Pakistan including 17 kills from 28 attempts, while Muhammad Waseem added 10 points including 9 deadly attacks. Hasan Abbas topscored with 11 points for Bahrain.

Meanwhile, Pakistan and Chinese Taipei had the similar performances after claiming two wins without dropping a set to their respective rivals and are assured of parading to the round of the top eight teams. Both sides will battle it out on Monday in a match to decide the winners of Pool C, with Bahrain playing Qatar. Both teams failed to make their mark after suffering two straight losses and will be relegated to 9th-16th classification.

“My players came to this tournament after finishing 8th in the Men’s U21 World Championship earlier in Bahrain. They are extremely fatigue as they are also playing the same format as pool round-robin preliminaries here. Their starting points are good but they cannot close out the set due to lack of concentration,” Bahrain head coach Khalifa Yusuf commented after the match.

In Pool D, China, which had already suffered their first defeat at the hands of in-form India in their previous match on Saturday, produced an epic 3-2 (25-23, 22-25, 21-25, 25-19, 17-15) victory over Thailand to next go up against New Zealand.

“My players are young and experiencing their first big events here. They need time to boost their mentality. For tomorrow’s match against New Zealand, I need them to stay focused and not to play nervously,” China head coach Cao Maowen commented.

India, which struggled to beat China 3-2 the previous day, thrashed New Zealand in straight sets 25-18 25-14 25-12 on Sunday to remain unbeaten in Pool D. The Indians are due to next challenge Thailand, fourth place at the 2017 edition.

On Monday, all 16 participating teams will contest their last matches in the pool round-robin preliminaries and will be classified according to performances in their pools.

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