Ninh Binh, Vietnam, June 29, 2017 – Toyoda Gosei Trefuerza, Beijing Baic Motor, Al Arabi and Altay made it two in a row, as Bank Sarmayeh kicked off their title defence with a convincing win over Taichung Commercial Bank at the SMM 2017 Asian Men’s Club Volleyball Championship at Ninh Binh and Nam Dinh Gymnasiums on Thursday.
Beijing Baic Motor Club from China, fresh from thrashing Maldivian Sports & Recreation Club the previous day, survived a scare to beat Thailand’s Air Force VC in a hard-fought five-set thriller 25-18, 25-21, 23-25, 16-25, 15-12 to snatch their second victory in the top-tier competition, in which 13 teams are vying for the top honour and the lone berth to contest the next year’s FIVB Volleyball Men’s Club World Championship.
With the dramatic win, the Chinese side are guaranteed a place in the round of the last eight teams although a daunting task awaits them in the Friday’s match against unbeaten Toyoda Gosei Trefuerza to decide the Pool D winners.
“We played well in the first two sets against Air Force, but in the third and fourth sets we lost steam and the Thai team started to play better. In the fifth set, we had a good start and were able to take advantage of our opponents’s errors. I’m very happy that we finally won this match,” Beijing Baic Motor’s head coach Mu Li commented after the match.
“We prepared well before this tournament. We have four players who are playing in the China national team, but this time some of them could not join us, so it is very hard for us in this tournament,” he added.
Qatar’s Al Arabi Sports Club, silver medallists at the previous edition last year in Myanmar, also sealed their second win in Pool C after a one-sided battle against Yan Chai from Hong Kong which ended 25-14, 25-15, 25-19 in favour of the Qataris.
The third match at the competition site saw Iraq’s Al-Bahri Sport Club recover from the stunning loss to hosts Vietnam Sports Club the previous day to beat Sri Lanka Ports Authority with a hard-fought 25-21 25-21 25-23 win.
At the Nam Dinh Gymnasium, Kazakhstan’s Altay VC recorded their second win in Pool C following their scintillating 25-8 25-18 25-16 victory over inexperienced Canberra Heat from Australia on Thursday.
Vitaliy Voravodin led Altay VC with 14 points including 12 kills, while Matthew Aubrey emerged as the top scorer of Canberra Heat after collecting 11 points including 7 kills from 22 attempts and 3 kill blocks.
Toyoda Gosei Trefuerza also followed suits as the Japanese side breezed past Maldivian Sports & Recreation Club in a totally one-sided encounter 25-14 25-8 25-14 in just 48 minutes.
Against the Maldivians, Toyoda Gosei Trefuerza rested their best players including Croat Igor Omrcen and instead fielded most substitutions.
Tetsu Yamachika, Ryosuke Tsubakiyama and Hideaki Okamoto each scored double digits, with Yamachika and Tsubakiyama scoring the similar 12 points. Tsubakiyama alone led the team’s attacks with 11 kills from 26 attempts, while Yamachika had 7 kills and 4 blocks. Sajid Ismail scored a team-high 10 points for Maldivian Sports & Recreation Club.
Reigning champions Bank Sarmayeh from Iran pulled off a straight-set 25-19 25-20 25-21 victory over Taichung Commercial Bank from Chinese Taipei in Pool B. With only two teams contesting Pool B, Bank Sarmayeh and Taichung Commercial Bank have already claimed their berths for the round of the last eight teams.
Pool preliminary round
At Ninh Binh Gymnasium
Pool A: Al-Bahri Sport Club (Iraq) b Sri Lanka Ports Authority (Sri Lanka) 3-0 (25-21 25-21 25-23)
Pool C: Al Arabi Sports Club (Qatar) b Yan Chai (Hong Kong) 3-0 (25-14 25-15 25-19)
Pool D: Beijing Baic Motor (China) b Air Force VC (Thailand) 3-2 (25-18 25-21 23-25 16-25 15-12)
At Nam Dinh Gymnasium
Pool B: Bank Sarmayeh (Iran) b Taichung Commercial Bank (Chinese Taipei) 3-0 (25-19 25-20 25-21)
Pool C: Altay VC (Kazakhstan) b Canberra Heat (Australia) 3-0 (25-8 25-18 25-16)
Pool D: Toyoda Gosei Trefuerza (Japan) b Maldivian Sports & Recreation Club (Maldives) 3-0 (25-14 25-8 25-14)
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