ARDAKAN, SANEST KHANH HOA, LANKA LIONS AND WAPDA TOP THEIR POOLS AT ASIAN MEN’S CLUB CHAMPIONSHIP
Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar, August 1, 2018 – As hot favourites Khatam Ardakan had a rest day after straight two wins to capture the Pool A top spot, Sanest Khanh Hoa, Lanka Lions and WAPDA stole the limelight by making a clean sweep in their pools at the 2018 Asian Men’s Club Volleyball Championship at the Wunna Theikdi Indoor Stadium on Wednesday.
Spearheaded by ace spiiker Shahram Mahmoudi, who had won the Most Valuable Player Award twice with successive two-time champions Sarmayeh Bank, Khatam Ardakan from Iran proved too strong for Atyrau and Japan’s Toray Arrows, respectively brushing the Kazakhstan and Japanese sides 3-1 and 3-0 to top Pool A and be classified as R1 to head into the quarter-finals on August 4.
Contesting their last match at the pool round-robin preliminaries, Atyrau took on Toray Arrows in a tough encounter to determine the second spot in Pool A. Atyrau, with two players including highly-skilled Vitaliy Vorivodin sidelines with ankle injuries, defied all odds to overpower the Japanese side in hard-fought five-set thriller 22-25 25-23 22-25 25-19 15-11. Atyrau finished second in Pool A, with Toray Arrows in third place.
Oleh Shevchenko capped 18-markers for Atyrau including 15 kills from 32 attempts, while another three players scored with double digits, with Anton Kuznetsov, Petr Churzin and Aibat Netalin scoring 16, 16 and 15 points respectively. Kazuki Ochiai was the top scorer of Toray Arrows with 20 points including 18 destructive attacks.
“We tried to do our best in this match, aiming for the win. Unfortunately, we had two injuries, but hope they can recover in time. Between Khatam Ardakan and Toray Arrows, I think the Iranian team have more ability, but we also have other tactics and strategies to play them if we meet them again,” Atyrau head coach Sergey Trikoz commented.
In Pool B, in-form Sanest Khanh Hoa from Vietnam had reached new heights on Wednesday following their stunning straight-set 25-22 26-24 25-17 victory over China’s Sichuan.
Tu Thanh Thuan led Sanest Khanh Hoa with 16 points including 12 kills from 24 attempts, while Tran Trien Chieu added 13 points. Go Shun Xiang chipped in 11 points for Sichuan.
Sanest Khanh Hoa showed tremendous courage and defensive resilience in this tough match against Sichuan, which had already suffered their first 2-3 loss at the hands of Chinese Taipei’s Long Power on the opening day.
“I’m happy that my team can beat the Chinese team for the first time. We have been training altogether for three months in preparation for this championship. The Chinese team are always strong, but we just did our best to beat them this time. There are two players in my team who joined the Vietnam national team comprising Tu Thanh Thuan and Huynh Trung Truc. This is a young team. We trained together and competed in this tournament with an aim of learning tactics from the other teams,” commented Sanest Khanh Hoa head coach Thai Quang Lai.
Formidable Lanka Lions produced a magnificent come-from-behind 3-2 (20-25 23-25 25-16 25-23 15-11) victory over Nakhonratchasima The Mall VC to capture the pole position in Pool C.
Romesh Hehathpurage Deepthi scored a match-high 29 points including 25 kills from 37 attempts, while Methmal Gonaragamage Lasindu added 14 points. Jirayu Raksakew chipped in 17 points for the losing side, assisted by Wanchai Tabwises and Kittinon Namkhunthod, who scored 13 and 11 points respectively.
Meanwhile, Australia’s Canberra Heat produced a fantastic 3-2 (22-25 19-25 25-22 25-22 15-12) win over Hong Kong’s Yanchai in another Pool C match, while the Pool D clash between Pakistan’s WAPDA and Binagar from Turkmenistan saw the former struggle to beat the latter in exhausting five-setter 17-25 25-21 25-17 18-25 15-13.
At the conclusion of the three-day pool plays, Iran’s Khatam Ardakan captured the top spot in Pool A, followed by Atyrau and Toray Arrows, while Sanest Khanh Hoa led Pool B, with Long Power and Sichuan in second and third places respectively. Lanka Lions dominated Pool C, followed by Nakhonratchasima The Mall VC, Canberra Heat and Yanchai respectively. WAPDA emerged as the Pool D winners, with Asia World Club and Binagar in respective second and third places.
Thursday is the rest day. The competition resumes on Friday in the quarter-final ranking round for 4-8 and 9-13.
Pool round-robin preliminaries
Pool A: Atyrau (Kazakhstan) b Toray Arrows (Japan) 3-2 (22-25 25-23 22-25 25-19 15-11)
Pool B: Sanest Khanh Hoa (Vietnam) b Sichuan (China) 3-0 (25-22 26-24 25-17)
Pool C: Lanka Lions (Sri Lanka) b Nakhonratchasima The Mall VC (Thailand) 3-2 (20-25 23-25 25-16 25-23 15-11); Canberra Heat (Australia) b Yanchai (Hong Kong) 3-2 (22-25 19-25 25-22 25-22 15-12)
Pool D: WAPDA (Pakistan) b Binagar (Turkmenistan) 3-2 (17-25 25-21 25-17 18-25 15-13)
RANKING AFTER POOL PLAYS
R1: Khatam Arkadan (Iran)
R2: Atyrau (Kazakhstan)
R3: Toray Arrows (Japan)
R4: Sanest Khanh Hoa (Vietnam)
R5: Long Power (Chinese Taipei)
R6: Sichuan (China)
R7: Lanka Lions (Sri Lanka)
R8: Nakhonratchasima The Mall VC (Thailand)
R9: Canberra Heat (Australia)
R10: Yanchai (Hong Kong)
R11: WAPDA (Pakistan)
R12: Asia World Club (Myanmar)
R13: Binagar (Turkmenistan)
Friday, August 3, 2018
11.00am: R8-Nakhonratchasima (Thailand) v R13-Binagar (Turkmenistan); R5-Long Power (Chinese Taipei) v R10-Yanchai (Hong Kong)
13.30pm: R6-Sichuan (China) v R11-WAPDA (Pakistan); R4-Sanest Khanh Hoa (Vietnam) v R9-Canberra Heat (Australia)
16.00pm: R7-Lanka Lions (Sri Lanka) v R12-Asia World Club (Myanmar)
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