Binan, Philippines, September 11, 2016 – NEC Red Rockets stunned China’s Ba’Yi Shengzheng in pulsating final showdown in the “SMM” 2016 Asian Women’s Club Volleyball Championship at the Alonte Sports Arena on Sunday to be crowned the Asian Club winners and secure a berth to compete at the 2017 FIVB Women’s Club Volleyball World Championship.
In a final clash of the two unbeaten teams, NEC Red Rockets defeated Ba’Yi Shenzheng of China 3-0 (25-23, 25-19, 25-21) to claim the title.
The Japanese crew displayed excellent defense on the much taller Chinese opponents. Sarina Koga and team-mates Mizuki Yanagita and Akari Oumi took care of the Japanese offence that helped them edge Ba’Yi Shenzheng players in crucial moments in each set.
Koga, who won Most Valuable Player award, top scored for NEC Red Rockets with 16 points, while Yanagita and Oumi scored 15 and 14 points, respectively. Ba’Yi Shenzheng’s Yan Junjing tried to spark their offense and delivered 15 points, then Liu Yan Han finished with 14, but the Chinese duo could not provide their team a much-needed push on offense as their rivals covered the net and floor well.
In the bronze medal match, Bangkok Glass of Thailand recovered from two sets down to make consecutive podium finishes, after their 3-2 (22-25, 23-25, 25-19, 25-21, 15-6) win over Altay VC of Kazakhstan. Bangkok Glass, which were last year’s winners, settled for the third spot.
Southeast Asian stars Wilavan Apinyapong, Nguyen Thi Ngoc Hoa and Pleumjit Thinkaow stepped up on offence for Bangkok Glass and scored 19, 18 and 17 points, respectively.
Olga Biryukova of Altay VC topped all scorers with 26 markers, while Kristina Anikonova added 12.
Meanwhile, Sarmayeh Bank of Iran moved four notches higher in the ranking, since placing ninth in the 2015 edition of the competition. Sarmayeh Bank finished fifth place after defeating Thongtin Lien Viet Post Bank of Vietnam 3-0 (25-23, 25-17, 25-23).
The Iranian players were deliberate in service, as they fired seven aces, which caused problems on the Vietnamese defence. Maedeh Borhani Esfahani finished with 15 points for Sarmayeh Bank, while Do Thi Minh led Thongtin Lien Viet Post Bank with 13 markers.
Foton Pilipinas of the Philippines recorded their second victory in the tournament to finish seventh. The Philippine club persevered to gain a straight-set (25-17, 30-28, 25-23) win over the young T.Grand of Chinese Taipei.
Lindsay Stalzer and Ariel Usher carried the offensive load of Foton Pilipinas, as they notched 18 and 15 points, respectively, while T.Grand captain Chiu Ya-Hui scored 13 points.
1. NEC Red Rockets (JPN) – qualified for 2017 FIVB Women’s Club Volleyball World Championship
2. Ba’Yi Shenzheng (CHN)
3. Bangkok Glass (THA)
4. Altay VC (KAZ)
5. Sarmayeh Bank (IRI)
6. Thongtin Lien Viet Post Bank (VIE)
7. Foton Pilipinas (PHI)
8. T.Grand (TPE)
9. 4.25 Sports Club (PRK)
10. Jakarta Elektrik (INA)
11. Kwai Tsing (HKG)
1st Best Outside Spiker: Wilavan Apinyapong – Bangkok Glass (THA)
2nd Best Outside Spiker: Liu Yan Han – Ba’Yi Shenzheng (CHN)
1st Best Middle Blocker: Kana Ono – NEC Red Rockets (JPN)
2nd Best Middle Blocker: Pleumjit Thinkaow – Bangkok Glass (THA)
Best Opposite Spiker: Mizuki Yanagita – NEC Red Rockets (JPN)
Best Setter: Pornpun Guedpard – Bangkok Glass (THA)
Best Libero: Tikamporn Changkeaw – Bangkok Glass (THA)
Most Valuable Player: Sarina Koga – NEC Red Rockets (JPN)