Tianjin, China, May 4, 2019 – Hosts Bohai Bank Tianjin cruised past Hisamitsu Seiyaku Springs of Japan to the final showdown of the 2019 Asian Women’s Club Volleyball Championship after a convincing straight-set win in the semi-final clash at Wuqing Sports Center on Saturday.
With the exceptional win, the host side now go up against defending and consecutive two-time champions Supreme Chonburi of Thailand in the highly-anticipated final showdown on Sunday.
Against Hisamitsu Seiyaku Springs, the attacking trio, returning from the China national team training camp last Sunday, proved their strength again as Gong Xiangyu, domestic aid from Jiangsu Zenith Steel, bagged a match-high 18 points, while Li Yingying and Liu Xiaotong, domestic aid from Beijing Auto, contributed with 12 and 11 respectively.
The Japanese had a good chance in the second set as they once led 22-19. However, monster blocks from the much taller Chinese extinguished their hopes before Li Yingying and Gong Xiangyu brought Tianjin to capture the thrilling set 25-22 with an ace and a cross-court spike in sequence.
“The opponents had a fast and changing play in the second set. They combined spiking and dipping. Also they had several successful blocks at the final stretch of the set. However, we never lost our confidence and still kept our strong desire to win when falling behind. I think we fully played out to what we had prepared.” said Gong Xiangyu.
“Tianjin have more national team members. As a team of young players, we looked at ourselves as a team with great determination to challenge them seriously in this crucial match. We failed mainly in blocking. That is what we need to improve. No.1 Li Yingying and No. 11 Gong Xiangyu of the Chinese team are impressive. It is a good experience for our young players to play Tianjin,” commented Shing Sakai, head coach of Hisamitsu Seiyaku Springs.
“We prepared well for this tough match, especially for the mobile attacks of the Japanese side. Overall, we did well in blocking and defence. Hisamitsu are a tough team. They have a good rhythm of attacking. In fact, both of us played with almost the similar attacking standard in this match. We just did better in serving and blocking,” commented Chen Youquan, head coach of Bohai Bank Tianjin.
Like the hosts, Supreme Chonburi of Thailand, eyeing a hat-trick of victory in this top-tier championship, also sealed a straight-set 25-23, 25-18, 25-15 victory over Altay VC of Kazakhstan in the other semi-final match to battle it out with Bohai Bank Tianjin for the eventual title on Sunday.
Ajcharaporn Kongyot chipped in a match-high 19 points for Supreme, followed by captain Wilavan Apinyapong and Pleumjit Thinkaow with 12 and 11 respectively.
“I am happy to win the match. We had good motivation before the start of the match. I think we did better in details than the opponents. Besides, we had a good adaption to the opponent’s height advantage since we have several experienced players knowing what to do,” said Wang Na, Chinese aid of Supreme Chonburi.
In the 5th-8th playoffs, DPR Korea’s 4.25 Sport Club snatched a comfortable 3-0 (25-18, 25-12, 25-12) victory over unfancied Hong Kong International VC, while TPE conquered Vietnam’s VTV Binh Dien Long An 3-0 (25-20, 25-22, 25-17).
Earlier in the morning, Sri Lanka Air Force clinched the 9th place to complete their journey at the 2019 Asian Women’s Club Volleyball Championship after a straight-set (25-13, 25-22, 26-24) win over winless Binagar of Turkmenistan in the 9th-10th playoff. Binagar of Turkmenistan finished bottom 10th of the championship.
On Sunday, the final day of the topflight competition, DPR Korea’s 4.25 Sports Club will face TPE for the 5th position, with Hong Kong International VC challenging VTV Binh Dien Long An in the 7th-8th playoff.
Hisamitsu Seiyaku Springs and Altay VC will battle it out for the bronze medal, while invincible Bohai Bank Tianjin and title-holders Supreme set up a thrilling final showdown.
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