LONG POWER OVERPOWER SICHUAN IN HARD-FOUGHT FIVE-SETTER
Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar, July 30, 2018 – In-form Long Power from Chinese Taipei pulled off a stunning 3-2 (25-18 22-25 21-25 25-14 15-13) victory over China’s Sichuan in their first encounter at the 2018 Asian Men’s Club Volleyball Championship at the Wunna Theikdi Indoor Stadium Hall B on Monday.
Huang Shih-Hao contributed 19 points for Long Power including 17 attacks from 34 attempts, while Li Rui scored a team-high 25 points for Sichuan including 21 kills from 41 attempts. Wang Zhao Rui added 11 points including 6 stuff blocks.
Long Power combined extreme power through devastating spikes from Lin Chinh-Yung and Huang Shi-Hao to gain the upper hand from the beginning of the first set against China’s Sichuan. Long Power led 15-11 and widened the margin to 21-16. The Chinese side tried to put their act together, with the 205cm-tall Wang Zhao Rui using his height advantage to block and attack solidly. Still, with a blistering run of points under the excellent combinations and fine attacks, Long Power were just cruising to 25-18 victory in the set.
With Guo Shun Xiang brilliantly orchestrating the team’s offense whenever he was in play and shaking the opponents’ reception from the serving line, Sichuan were well in control to lead 17-15 before advancing 23-19. Bi Xian Hao produced an ace serve to hand the Chinese team a crucial point 24-19, needing only one more point to wrap up the set. However, Long Power came to life to score three points in a row 22-24 before a big spike from Li Rui ended the rivals’ challenge.
The third set turned a see-saw battle, with the leads changing hands for several times. Leading narrowly 16-15, Sichuan changed the momentum in the set, with 205cm Wang Zhao Rui and 203 Qin Song producing scintillating blocks and Guo Shun Xiang and Li Rui penetrating the Taiwanese defence with their flashes of successful attacks. The Chinese team won the set 25-21.
Conceding two sets, Long Power showcased a dose of grit for a lead by wide margin 15-5 in the fourth set, making use of the Chinese’s jitters and unforced mistakes. As Long Power continued their remarkable run to jump to a 19-9 lead, both sides replaced their best players with substitutions to change the game’s tone. The one-way traffic eded 25-14 in favour of the Chinese Taipei side, leaving Sichuan to be forced into a tie-breaker by a determined rivals’ comeback.
In the decider, Long Power waltzed into a 10-5 lead and from then, both sides traded blows. Sichuan gradually pulled their game together to come close 13-14, but Long Power had enough to hold them off before winning 15-13.
“It’s because both teams are playing our first match, we tried our best to win it. It’s possible that in our pool, we might play them again. We trained only two months before coming here for the championship. We will try our best in every match and if possible, we try to finish among top four. There is only one national team player in my team. He is Huang Shih-Hao,” Long Power head coach Chuang Shih-Hsien.
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