Taipei, Chinese Taipei, August 15, 2015 – Hosts Taichung Bank, Iran’s Paykan, Qatar’s Al Arabi and Pavlodar from Kazakhstan made a clean sweep in their pool round-robin preliminaries to top Pool A, B, C and D respectively at the completion of the pool phrase of the Asian Men’s Club Volleyball Championship on Saturday.
All 16 participating teams tried their utmost to keep their high hopes of advancing to the last eight teams or the quarter-finals alive, resulting in tough last-preliminary clashes in four pools on Saturday.
At the University of Taipei Hall, unbeaten Taichung Bank Club have already ensured a place in the quarter-finals. However, the host side, fielding all national Chinese Taipei players who finished sixth at the recent Asian Senior Men’s Championship in Iran, did not give Afghanistan’s NDS any chance of a comeback after they lost the first two sets 20-25 10-25 in Pool A. The visitors put their acts together in the third set, but Taichung Bank proved too strong with the likes of terrific Chen Chien-Chen, Wu Tsung-Hsuan and Liu Hung-Min to win the effortless third set 25-16 and the one-hour match.
Taichung Bank’s head coach Chen Ke-Chou said, “Some players in my team got stressed out with blistering matches against Panasonic and Migrasiya. However, we observed the other teams by video to help my players advance to the quarter-finals.”
NDS’s head coach Sadeq Mohammad Y said, “We are very proud to play in this tournament, despite the difficult situation in our country and this is the first time that we participated outside Afghanistan. We gained a lot of experience in this tournament which will help us improve our form. More importantly, we have a chance to share our experiences with the rest of the continent.”
In the other Pool A match, with Taichung Bank taking the top spot, Turkmenistan’s Migrasiya and Japan’s Panasonic fought competitively in a match to determine the second team in the quarter-finals. Migrasiya produced a magnificent come-from-behind 3-2 (19-25 25-22 23-25 25-22 15-11) victory. During the match, Migrasiya’s head coach Atayev Gambarguly made changes in some of the team members, which enabled his team to win the fourth set. In the fifth set as a result of the weakness of the Japanese defence, Migrasiya controlled the game marvellously to win the decider.
Hot favourite Paykan from Iran became the only team which have yet lost a set to their respective rivals at the end of the pool plays on Saturday. Paykan fielded many star spikers who competed in the second-placed Iran in the recent Asian meet at home in their starting line-up including Hamzeh Zarini, Ali Hossein, Mojtaba Gholizad and Reza Safaei in their last preliminary match against Philippines’ Cignal.
Paykan took the first two sets comfortably 25-18 25-14, but the Filipinos counter-attacked well in the third set which turned into a see-saw battle. Nevertheless, with the greater experience, Paykan proved their class to win the hotly-contested set 28-26 and the straight-set match.
Reza Safaei led Paykan with 20 points including 18 kills from 32 attempts, while Lorenzo Jr Capate scored 13 points for Cignal.
In the other Pool B match, Korea Armed Forces pulled off a convincing straight-set 25-15 25-12 25-15 win over Kuwait’s Qadsia Sporting Club.
At the Taipei Gym, Thailand’s Nakhonratchasima succumbed their second loss in this top-flight competition at the hands of Qatar’s Al Arabi Sport Club in Pool C clash after going down 21-25 18-25 19-25 to the 2012 Asian Men’s Club winners. With the exceptional win, the Qatari team remained unbeaten in this top-flight competition.
The other Pool C encounter saw Iraq’s South Gas Club in awesome form to thrash underdogs Victorian Volleyball Academy from Australia in a one-sided battle 25-12 25-17 25-13.
In Pool D, Vietnam’s Trang An Ninh Binh performed impressively to taste their first victory in the 16-team championship, brushing off Oman’s Sohar in straight sets with the similar margin 25-20 25-20 25-20.
The other encounter was more thrilling when the two unbeaten teams, China’s BAIC Motor and Kazakhstan’s Pavlodar VC, battled it out to vie for the top spot in Pool D. In a hard-fought duel Pavlodar fared better to pull off a dramatic four-set 23-25 27-25 25-17 25-21 win over BAIC Motor, the third place at the previous edition in Pasay, the Philippines last year.
Martin Sopkro scored a match-high 22 points for Pavlodar including 18 attack hits, while Wang Chen led BAIC Motor with 21 points, 19 of them through deadly spikes.
At the completion of the three-day round-robin preliminaries, hosts Taichung Bank topped Pool A with nine points from three straight wins, followed by Turkmenistan’s Migrasiya with five points from two wins against one loss. Japan’s Panasonic and Afghanistan’s NDS came in third and fourth places respectively.
Invincible Paykan captured the top spot in Pool B as expected with consecutive three wins, while Korea Armed Forces finished second with six points from two wins against one loss. The Philippines’ Cignal and Kuwait’s Qadsia Sporting Club finished respective third and fourth places.
Pool C was dominated by Qatar’s Al Arabi Sport Club with nine points, with Iraq’s South Gas Club in second place with five points from two wins against one loss. Thailand’s Nakhonratchasima and Australia’s Victorian Volleyball Academy claimed third and fourth places.
In Pool D, Pavlodar VC from Kazakhstan emerged as the top spot with nine points from straight three wins. China’s BAIC Motor came in second place with six points from two wins against one loss. Vietnam’s Trang An Ninh Binh finished third with three points from one win against two losses, with winless Sohar from Oman in fourth position.
Only top two teams from each pool advance to the quarter-finals, with the teams finishing third and fourth places relegated to the 9th-16th classification round.
The fourth day of the competition resumes on Sunday with the 9th-16th playoffs and the quarter-finals. Top two teams from each pool totalling eight teams will be divided to two pools of four teams to contest Pool E and Pool F, while the lower-ranked eight teams will also be split to two pools of four teams in Pool G and Pool H.
Migrasiya (Turkmenistan) b Panasonic (Japan) 3-2 (19-25 25-22 23-25 25-22 15-11)
Taichung Bank Club (Chinese Taipei) b NDS (Afghanistan) 3-0 (25-20 25-10 25-16)
Paykan (Iran) b Cignal (Philippines) 3-0 (25-18 25-14 28-26)
Korea Armed Forces (Korea) b Qadsia Sporting Club (Kuwait) 3-0 (25-15 25-12 25-15)
Al Arabi Sport Club (Qatar) b Nakhonratchasima (Thailand) 3-0 (25-21 25-18 25-19)
South Gas Club (Iraq) b Victorian Volleyball Academy (Australia) 3-0 (25-12 25-17 25-13)
Trang An Ninh Binh (Vietnam) b Sohar (Oman) 3-0 (25-20 25-20 25-20)
Pavlodar VC (Kazakhstan) b BAIC Motor (China) 3-1 (23-25 27-25 25-17 25-21)
TEAM RANKING AFTER POOL ROUND-ROBIN PRELIMINARIES
- Taichung Bank Club (Chinese Taipei) 9 points
- Migrasiya (Turkmenistan) 5 points
- Panasonic (Japan) 4 points
- NDS (Afghanistan) 0 point
- Paykan (Iran) 9 points
- Korea Armed Forces (Korea) 6 points
- Cignal (Philippines) 3 points
- Qadsia Sporting Club (Kuwait) 0 point
- Al Arabi Sport Club (Qatar) 9 points
- South Gas Club (Iraq) 5 points
- Nakhonratchasima (Thailand) 4 points
- Victorian Volleyball Academy (Australia) 0 point
- Pavlodar VC (Kazakhstan) 9 points
- BAIC Motor (China) 6 points
- Trang An Ninh Binh (Vietnam) 3 points
- Sohar (Oman) 0 point
MATCH SCHEDULE (All local times)
Sunday, August 16, 2015
AT UNIVERSITY OF TAIPEI HALL
1pm: 1B-Paykan v 2D-BAIC Motor
3pm: 1D-Pavlodar v 2B-Korea Armed Forces
5pm: 1C-Al Arabi Sport Club v 2A-Migrasiya
7pm: 1A-Taichung Bank Club v 2C-South Gas Club
AT TAIPEI GYM
1pm: 3A-Panasonic v 4C-Victorian Volleyball Academy
3pm: 3C-Nakhonratchasima v 4A-NDS
5pm: 3B-Cignal v 4D-Sohar
7pm: 3D-Trang An Ninh Binh v 4B-Qadsia Sporting Club