LANKA LIONS THRASH LONG POWER 3-0 FOR WELL-EARNED 7TH PLACE AT ASIAN MEN’S CLUB CHAMPIONSHIP
Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar, August 6, 2018 – In-form Lanka Lions proved a cut above Long Power, brushing off the tough opponents in thrilling three-setter 25-23, 25-22, 26-24 to finish 7th position at the 2018 Asian Men’s Club Volleyball Championship at the Wunna Theikdi Indoor Stadium Hall B on Monday.
Lanka Lions’s 7th-place finish in Nay Pyi Taw this time proved a much-improved performance in the top-tier championship. At the previous edition in Vietnam last year, Sri Lanka returned with the below-par 11th position.
Janitha Sbashingha Arachchilage scored a match-high 21 points for Lanka Lions including 18 attacks and 3 stuff blocks. Huang Shih-Hao chipped in with 12 points for Long Power.
Questing for a similar 7th-place finish as compatriots Taichung Bank achieved at the previous edition in Vietnam, Long Power found it a tough going in the 7th-8th playoff match against Lanka Lion. The Sri Lankans took command from the beginning of the first set, with hard-hitting Romesh Hehathpurage Deepthi and Methmal Gonaragamage Lasindu unleashing several powerful blows to blunt the Long Power’s blocking efforts and pull the team into the early lead with a 4-point clear at 15-11. However, the opponents counter-attacked well to meet the Sri Lankans in several occasions. Levelling 21-21, Lanka Lions heightened up their defence, allowing the rivals scoring difficulties. The Sri Lankans improved on their unforced mistakes at the final assault for the hard-fought 25-23 win in the opening set.
Both teams started aggressively in the second set. Lanka Lions relied mostly on exceptional spikes from Romesh, Methmal and Shamil Andra Hendige and scintillating blocking by Shamil and Lakmal Benthu Sewage Wasantha to strangle the rivals, but Pan Chun-Ju and Huang Shih-Hao saved the day for Long Power, penetrating the Sri Lankan defence with explosive attacks to help the team match the rivals offensively. Leading the rivals with just a one-point advantage at 19-18, Lanka Lions continued their dazzling form to advance 24-20. Long Power saved two set points before the Sri Lankans sealed the win 25-22 for a 2-0 advantage.
The rhythm was still with Lanka Lions in the third set, which they pulled into the lead with a 5-point clear at 10-5, stretched it to 12-7 before Long Power fought back with terrific jump serves and solid blocks to reduce the margin to 14-15. They caught up with Lanka Lions at 24-24, but the Sri Lankans played more consistently to score successive two points for the hard-fought 26-24 win in the set and the 7th place. Long Power came in 8th place.
“It’s good for us to take the 7th position. After the semi-finals, I fielded substitutions in the court just for their future since many players in my team will join Sri Lanka national team for the AVC Challenge Cup on home soil next month. I’m satisfied with the results here,” commented Lanka Lions head coach Serbian Dejan Vulicevic after the match.
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