ADAKAN, NAKHONRATCHASIMA AND LANKA LIONS FLEX THEIR MUSCLES AT ASIAN MEN’S CLUB CHAMPIONSHIP
Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar, July 31, 2018 – Mighty Khatam Ardakan, Nakhonratchasima The Mall VC and Lanka Lions remained on course after making it two in succession at the 2018 Asian Men’s Club Volleyball Championship at the Wunna Theikdi Indoor Stadium on Tuesday.
Khatam Ardakan from Iran powered past fighting Japan’s Toray Arrows in hard-fought three-set thriller 25-22 25-22 34-32. With straight two wins, Ardakan, which came back to beat Kazakhstan’s Atyrau 3-1 in the previous match, captured the top spot in Pool A as expected. The Iranians are now ranked R1 and became the first team to secure their quarter-final berth.
Shahram Mahmoudi, who played for Sarmayeh Bank to emerge as the 2016-2017 Asian Men’s Club champions and took the Most Valuable Player Award on both occasions, chipped in 17 points for Ardakan, while Hossein Amiri and Hamzeh Zarini added 12 and 11 points respectively. Kazuki Ochiai was the lone player who scored a double-digit match-high 20 points for Toray Arrows.
“It’s our good chance to play a strong team like Japan. In every match of every tournament we played them, Japan always proved to be strong defensively and it was a very difficult match for us. Playing Toray Arrows and Atyrau is totally different as the former are strong in techniques and defence and the latter with high blocks. As we are in strong pool for the first time since AVC applied a new format, I can’t say it now how our target will look like. The other teams from different pools are also strong and challenging,” Khatam Ardakan head coach Abbsali Mirhosseini commented after the match.
Thailand’s Nakhonratchasima The Mall VC, fresh from bagging their first win over Hong Kong’s Yanchai in their previous match, played cool under pressure to beat Australia’s Canberra Heat 3-1 (25-17 25-19 18-25 25-22).
Jirayu Raksakaew remained the top scorer of Nakhonratchasima after scoring a match-high 19 points including 18 kills from 27 attempts, while Pablo Fernando De Souza added 18 points. Jordan Power led Canberra Heat with 18 points.
Sri Lanka’s Lanka Lions had a perfect run in the championship without losing a set to their rivals. On Tuesday, Lanka Lions brushed off Hong Kong’s Yanchai in a one-sided battle 25-12 25-12 25-17, going up to clash with Nakhonratchasima The Mall VC the following day to decide the Pool C winners. So far, both sides had the similar six points from two wins against no loss, but the Sri Lankans fared better in set win-loss ratio.
Meanwhile, Pakistan’s WAPDA dashed out Asia World Club’s high hopes of making it two in a row by pulling off a sensational 3-0 (26-24 25-19 25-16) victory over the host side.
Aimal Khan chipped in 22 points for WAPDA including 18 kills from 28 attempts, while Murad Jehan added 15 points. Aung Thu led Asia World Club with14 points including 13 attacks.
“This is our first match in the tournament and sometimes it’s quite difficult for my team. Asia World Club are a strong team, but my players also played well against them. Before we played the host side, we analysed their game against Binagar. We next take on the Turkmenistan team and I think they are also strong like the Myanmar side. We have to try our best against them in that match. Actually, we trained together around six months. We have to train hard because this is a new team and we are heading for the future. We have eight players who joined the Pakistan national team. This is our first time to compete in the Asian Club Championship and we just eye only top four in the tournament since there are many strong teams here such as teams from Iran, China and Japan,” commented WAPDA head coach Iranian Hamid Movahedi.
Vietnam’s Sanest Khanh Hoa downed Chinese Taipei’s Long Power in four-setter 25-17 23-25 25-22 25-16.
On Wednesday, teams will contest their last match in the pool round-robin preliminaries and they will be classified according to performances in their pools.
Pool A: Khatam Ardakan (Iran) b Toray Arrows (Japan) 3-0 (25-22 25-22 34-32)
Pool B: Sanest Khanh Hoa (Vietnam) b Long Power (Chinese Taipei) 3-1 (25-17 23-25 25-22 25-16)
Pool C: Nakhonratchasima The Mall VC (Thailand) b Canberra Heat (Australia) 3-1 (25-17 25-19 18-25 25-22); Lanka Lions (Sri Lanka) b Yanchai (Hong Kong) 3-0 (25-12 25-12 25-17)
Pool D: WAPDA (Pakistan) b Asia World Club (Myanmar) 3-0 (26-24 25-19 25-16)
11.00am: Pool C: Lanka Lions (Sri Lanka) v Nakhonratchasima The Mall VC (Thailand);
13.30pm: Pool A: Toray Arrows (Japan) v Atyrau (Kzakhstan); Pool C: Canberra Heat (Australia) v Yanchai (Hong Kong)
16.00pm: Pool B: Sichuan (China) v Sanest Khanh Hoa (Vietnam); Pool D: WAPDA (Pakistan) v Binagar (Turkmenistan)
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