Surabaya, Indonesia, July 26, 2017 – Hosts Indonesia produced a fantastic comeback 3-2 (24-26 14-25 25-20 25-21 15-11) victory over Qatar to join Kazakhstan, Iran, Chinese Taipei, Korea, Japan, Australia and China to the top eight teams at the SMM 19th Asian Senior Men’s Volleyball Championship on Wednesday.
Contesting their last Pool A encounter against Qatar at the Tri Dharma Petrokimia Gymnasium, Indonesia shrugged off their dismal start of losing two sets in a row 24-26 14-25 to regain their poise and fight back to take the remaining three sets 25-20 25-21 15-11.
Rendy Febriant Tamamilang scored a team-high 23 points for the host side including 19 kills from 38 attempts and 3 aces. Rivan Nurmulki contributed similar 19 kills plus 3 solid blocks, while Bojan Dukic led Qatar with 18 points. Digne Papemaguette added 10 kills and 5 kill blocks.
Another Pool A match on Wednesday saw Kazakhstan maintain their unbeaten record following their sensational 25-13 25-22 25-17 win over Saudi Arabia.
Former successive two-time champions Iran, fielding a U23 squad in their final preparation for the next month’s FIVB Volleyball Men’s U23 World Championship in Cairo, Egypt, had a perfect run in Pool B after not losing a set to their respective opponents. Iran ended their preliminary match with a bang by beating Chinese Taipei, whose team members competed with the 2015 Asian Club winning-Taichung Bank, in straight sets 25-20 30-28 25-21.
“I think we played a good match against a strong team like Chinese Taipei. Winning 3-0 is very important for us and we will try to keep winning in our next matches. We next play China, one of the strongest teams in Asia with an excellent coach Raul Lozano, and Australia, the team which have already qualified for the World Championship. Both teams are of course strong for us to be reckoned with. For us, it’s important to gain competition experience ahead of the Men’s U23 World Championship. The key point of our success is that we attacked and served well,” Iran’s Argentine head coach Juan Manuel Cichello commented after the match.
In the other Pool B clash, Pakistan put it past Iraq in dramatic four-setter 26-24 25-17 17-25 25-22.
In Pool C, both matches played tough five sets on Wednesday. Korea pulled off a stunning 25-22 21-25 17-25 25-18 15-9 win over defending and eight-time winners Japan, with Vietnam powering past Sri Lanka 25-19 16-25 25-21 20-25 15-9.
Another surprise win came from Pool D, where Australia survived a scare from China after a 3-0 (26-24 25-13 25-23) rout of the 2015 bronze medallists.
“It was not a surprise win against China because it was what we worked for. We played China twice in the World League Group 2 and we beat them in the first meet in straight sets and lost the second one 1-3. I think it was our team’s good chance to win today. Winning 3-0 is a small surprise, but I’m happy because this win carries us to the next round. It’s important for us,” Australia’s head coach Mark Lebedew commented after the match against China.
“Next we play Chinese Taipei and then Iran. We played Chinese Taipei one week ago at the World Championship AVC Qualifier Pool B, 3-0 for us, but every set was difficult and it was a really hard match. So, tomorrow will be a hard match for us also. But we are in really good conditions. We have a strong team that we can play everyday. Yesterday, Thomas Hodges scored 22 points and today, Williams Lincoln scored 16 points, so, we are lucky in this way that we can manage team as well as our good performance.”
Thailand struggled to hit form in the same pool, recovering from one-set loss to breeze past Hong Kong in a four-set battle which ended 23-25 25-8 25-19 25-21 in favour of the Thai team.
At the end of the pool round-robin preliminaries on Wednesday, Kazakhstan captured the top spot in Pool A with 7 points from successive three wins, followed by hosts Indonesia with 6 points from 2 wins against 1 loss. Qatar and Saudi Arabia finished third and fourth places respectively.
The Pool B honours went to Iran with a clean sweep and 9 points. Chinese Taipei had 6 points from two wins against one loss. Pakistan and Iraq collected 3 and no point respectively.
Korea won Pool C with 8 points from straight three wins, while title-holders Japan came in second place with 7 points. Pakistan and Iraq were placed third and fourth, while promising Australia claimed Pool D with 8 points from straight three wins. China, Thailand and Hong Kong finished second, third and fourth places with 6, 4, 0 point respectively.
Playoffs for top-8 teams and 9th-16th are being held from July 27 to 29, with Friday, July 28 will be the rest day.
Pool round-robin preliminaries
Indonesia b Qatar 3-2 (24-26 14-25 25-20 25-21 15-11)
Kazakhstan b Saudi Arabia 3-0 (25-13 25-22 25-17)
Iran b Chinese Taipei 3-0 (25-20 30-28 25-21)
Pakistan b Iraq 3-1 (26-24 25-17 17-25 25-22)
Korea b Japan 3-2 (25-22 21-25 17-25 25-18 15-9)
Vietnam b Sri Lanka 3-2 (25-19 16-25 25-21 20-25 15-9)
Australia b China 3-0 (26-24 25-13 25-23)
Thailand b Hong Kong 3-1 (23-25 25-8 25-19 25-21)
Rankings after end of preliminaries
Pool A: 1. Kazakhstan; 2. Indonesia; 3. Qatar; 4. Saudi Arabia
Pool B: 1. Iran; 2. Chinese Taipei; 3. Pakistan; 4. Iraq
Pool C: 1. Korea; 2. Japan; 3. Vietnam; 4. Sri Lanka
Pool D: 1. Australia; 2. China; 3. Thailand; 4. Hong Kong
At the Tri Dharma Petrokimia Gymnasium
11.30am: 1D-Australia v 2B-Chinese Taipei
14.00pm: 1B-Iran v 2D-China
16.30pm: 1A-Kazakhstan v 2C-Japan
19.00pm: 1C-Korea v 2A-Indonesia
At the Wahana Ekspresi Poesponegoro Gymnasium
11.30am: 3A-Qatar v 4C-Sri Lanka
14.00pm: 3B-Pakistan v 4D-Hong Kong
16.30pm: 3C-Vietnam v 4A-Saudi Arabia
19.00pm: 3D-Thailand v 4B-Iraq
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AVC Youtube: click: Asian Volleyball Confederation