Bangkok, Thailand, March 4, 2018 – Nakhon Ratchasima The Mall’s VC and Supreme VC underlined their supremacy over the 2018 season-closing Volleyball Thailand League on Sunday, with the former sealing record fifth men’s title and the latter retaining the women’s crown.
Following their victories in the round-robin, home-and-away Thailand League, regarded as the top Thai professional league for volleyball clubs across the country, Nakhon Ratchasima The Mall’s VC and Supreme VC will represent Thailand in the 2018 Asian Men’s and Women’s Club Championships to be held later this year in Myanmar and Kazakhstan respectively.
In the women’s competition, Supreme VC made much of the impact last year when they, powered by ace spiker Fatou Diouck from Senegal and American Chloe Mann, played exceptionally well to capture not only the Thailand League, but also the top-flight Asian Women’s Club Championship in Ust-Kamenogorsk, Kazakhstan.
There, the in-form Supreme were crowned champions with unbeaten record including a hard-fought 3-2 win over hosts Altay in the pool preliminaries, a 3-1 win over China’s powerhouses Tianjin Bohai Bank in the semi-finals and repeated the similar feat over Japan’s giants Hisamitsu Springs 3-1 in the final showdown to capture the crown for the first time.
The resounding win in the 2017 Asian Women’s Club Championship enabled the star-studded Supreme VC to gain eligibility to compete against the world’s elite club teams in the FIVB Women’s Club World Championship, which is due to take place this year in Zhejiang, China from December 5 to 9.
Although the Club World Championship is months away before the kickoff, Supreme made their mark in the 2018 Thailand League as they successfully retained their crown in the eight-team tournament which started on November 4, 2017 and concluded on March 4, 2018. Supreme had 37 points from 13 wins against one loss to 3BB Nakhonnont.
In their last encounter of the season on March 3, Supreme recovered from the first two-set down to former consecutive two-time Thailand League winners and Asian Club champions Bangkok Glass to take the remaining three sets to capture the Thailand League crown.
Winning back-to-back title, Supreme, spearheaded by national spikers including Wilavan Apinyapong and Ajcharaporn Kongyot and strengthened this time by two import signings – Venezuelan Aleoscar Blanco and American Sareea Freeman, will carry Thai hopes to Kazakhstan, which will host the Asian Women’s Club Championship for the second consecutive time between July 11 and 18 at the same competition venue as last year in Ust-Kamenogorsk.
However, a new AVC competition format has recently been released for all AVC Championships in 2018, which see 11 teams to compete this year in Ust-Kamenogorsk assigned into three pools to their ranking at the previous edition. Thus, Thailand’s Supreme have been drawn in Pool A with teams from Japan and China. Pool B comprises teams from Kazakhstan, Chinese Taipei, Iran and Vietnam, while teams from the Philippines, Indonesia, Fiji and Sri Lanka are in Pool C.
“Our goal is, of course, to defend our Asian Club title. However, due to a new AVC competition format, a tough task awaits us since the very beginning of our campaign of title defence. I have yet to know such a new format of play will affect my players’ physical conditions. It can be another influential factor on our team’s performance and mission out there since under the new format, it seems that we will have no spare match to adjust ourselves,” said Supreme’s team manager Mr Thanadit Prasopnetr.
“We are forming our team in preparation for the Asian Club Championship in Kazakhstan. It’s likely that we will have two foreign players included in our team, while experienced libero Piyanut Pannoy, who is now competing professionally in Kazakhstan, will return to strengthen our team. To make my players well-prepared for the Asian Club Championship, we will leave for Kazakhstan three days ahead of the actual competition for physiological acclimatization,” he added.
In the men’s event, Nakhon Ratchasima The Mall’s VC smashed Air Force’s dreams of defending their title by thrashing Diamond Food-Rajamangala Lanna Phitsanulok in straight sets in their last match of the season to bag 38 points from 13 wins against one loss to Air Force, the second place with only one point behind.
The win in the 2018 season is a record fifth time of Nakhon Ratchasima in the Thailand League. They also captured the League title in 2008, 2013, 2014 and 2015. Nakhon Ratchasima will represent Thailand in the 2018 Asian Men’s Club Championship to be held from July 30 to August 6 in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar, where the Thai team have been drawn in Pool C with Chinese Taipei, Vietnam and hosts Myanmar.
This will be the second time that Nakhon Ratchasima will test their mettle in the Asian Club Championship. In the 2015 edition in Chinese Taipei, the Thai team finished 9th place among16 teams contesting the top-notch event.
FINAL STANDINGS IN 2018 THAILAND LEAGUE
1. Nakhon Ratchasima The Mall’s VC 38 points
2. Air Force 37 points
3. Diamond Food-Rajamangala Lanna Phitsanulok 33 points
4. Visakha (NK) 22 points
5. Cosmo-Chiang Rai VC 16 points
6. Samanan-Ratchaburi VC 13 points
7. Khon Kaen VC 6 points
8. Kasetsart VC 3 points
1. Supreme 37 points
2. Nakhon Ratchasima The Mall’s VC 34 points
3. Bangkok Glass 31 points
4. Khonkaenstar VC 24 points
5. 3BB Nakhonnont 23 points
6. King-Bangkok 13 points
7. RSU VC 6 points
8. Cosmo-Chiang Rai VC 0 point
Related links of AVC
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AVC Youtube: click: Asian Volleyball Confederation