Volleyball News

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.