Surabaya, Indonesia, July 25, 2017 – With one day remaining in their pool round-robin preliminaries, seven teams have been ensured their eligibility in the top 8 teams of the SMM 19th Asian Senior Men’s Volleyball Championship, with hosts Indonesia and Qatar fighting it out for the last berth on Wednesday.
At the conclusion of the pool plays on Wednesday, top two teams from each pool will advance to the last 8 teams playoffs. However, the teams claiming successive two victories in the top-flight competition have proved well they are strong contenders to be reckoned with for the 19th Asian title in Surabaya.
Kazakhstan became a surebet side in Pool A to make the cut for the last eight teams. The Kazakhs on Tuesday came from behind to beat hosts Indonesia in a hard-fought five-set thriller 23-25 27-25 25-21 21-25 15-13 and will take on Saudi Arabia, beaten in straight sets 23-25 21-25 21-25 to Qatar on Tuesday, in their last preliminary match the following day.
Saudi Arabia have yet won a match and are quite certain of being relegated to the 9th-16th classification round, while the host side and Qatar had the similar performance to collect 4 points from one win against one loss and have to play a must-win match when they meet on Wednesday to ensure their ticket to the round of the last eight teams.
Former two-time Asian champions Iran, which sent a strong U23 side this time to gain valuable experience ahead of their uphill task at the FIVB Volleyball Men’s U23 World Championship in Egypt from August 18 to 25, and Chinese Taipei grabbed two wins apiece in Pool B without losing a set to their respective rivals and will confront each other on Wednesday to decide the winners of the pool.
Iran brushed off Pakistan 25-23 25-22 25-14 on Tuesday, with Chinese Taipei overcoming a strong challenge from Iraq for a straight-set 26-24 25-21 25-22 win.
In Pool C, defending and eight-time Asian champions Japan, which have clinched a berth to compete in the 2018 FIVB Volleyball Men’s World Championship in Italy and Bulgaria after winning the recent AVC Qualifier Pool B in Australia, and Korea performed well by not conceding a set to their rivals in the first two days. Japan outclassed Vietnam 25-13 25-19 25-18, while Korea also sailed past Sri Lanka 25-15 25-20 25-20 on Tuesday. Japan and Korea set up a tough clash on Wednesday to decide the Pool C winners.
China remained on course in Pool D with straight two wins including a one-sided battle against Hong Kong 25-13 25-16 25-19 on Tuesday. The Chinese side will go up against Australia, which came from behind to beat Thailand in exhausting five-setter 19-25 26-28 25-19 25-14 15-11, on Wednesday to vie for the top spot in Pool D.
The pool plays continue on Wednesday when the top two teams from each pool will next advance to the last 8 teams playoffs. The teams finishing third and fourth places of each pool will be relegated to the 9th-16th classification round.
Pool round-robin preliminaries
Qatar b Saudi Arabia 3-0 (25-23 25-21 25-21)
Kazakhstan b Indonesia 3-2 (23-25 27-25 25-21 21-25 15-13)
Chinese Taipei b Iraq 3-0 (26-24 25-21 25-22)
Iran b Pakistan 3-0 (25-23 25-22 25-14)
Japan b Vietnam 3-0 (25-13 25-19 25-18)
Korea b Sri Lanka 3-0 (25-15 25-20 25-20)
Australia b Thailand 3-2 (19-25 26-28 25-19 25-14 15-11)
China b Hong Kong 3-0 (25-13 25-16 25-19)
At Tri Dhama Petrokimia Gymnasium
11.30am: Kazakhstan v Saudi Arabia
14.00pm: Thailand v Hong Kong
16.30pm: Indonesia v Qatar
19.00pm: Japan v Korea
At Wahana Ekspresi Poesponegoro Gymnasium
11.30am: Pakistan v Iraq
14.00pm: Iran v Chinese Taipei
16.30pm: Australia v China
19.00pm: Vietnam v Sri Lanka
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