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Hosts Taichung Bank join Paykan, Pavlodar, Al Arabi in semi-finals of Asian Men’s Club Championship

Taipei, Chinese Taipei, August 19, 2015 – Unbeaten Taichung Bank set up a mighty clash against Pavlodar, as powerhouses Paykan face a sturdy challenge from Al Arabi in the do-or-die semi-finals of the Asian Men’s Club Volleyball Championship at the University of Taipei Hall on Thursday.

Hosts Taichung Bank Club, the only team yet losing a match in the top-flight tournament, pulled off a dramatic four-set 25-18 25-19 26-28 25-17 victory over Korea Armed Forces in the Wednesday’s knock-out quarter-finals.

Fielding a well-established line-up led by Liu Hong-Jie, his twin brother Liu Hung-Min, Hung Chun-Ching and Chen Chien-Chen, Taichung Bank got off to a flying start with the first two-set 25-18 25-19 win, thanks to an excellent teamwork including the solid blocks from Chen Chien-Chen and Huang Chun-Ching and devastating cross-court attacks by Liu Hung-Min and Hung Chun-Ching.

Terrific An Junchan put Korea Armed Forces back on the right track in the third set when he punctured the Taiwanese defence with his exceptional spikes. However, Taichung Bank proved that they were one of the strongest teams to be reckoned with in this annual continental competition, as the host side counter-attacked well to stay hot on the visitors’  heels.

However, the closely-locked scores were kept going and both teams were unable to achieve more than one point lead up until the visitors called for another time-out at 24-23 with the Koreans taking a narrow leading. Korea Armed Forces’ perseverance paid off handsomely when they finally secured the close third set 28-26.

Holding a 2-1 advantage, Taichung Bank continued their onslaughts in the fourth set, allowing the visitors difficulties to cope with their unchallenged tactics. The hosts captured the comfortable fourth set 25-17, the 3-1 match and a semi-final berth.

Liu Hung-Min led Taichung Bank Club with 16 points, all of them through his spectacular attacks, while An Junchan scored a match-high 23 points for Korea Armed Forces including 20 kills from 34 attempts.

With the hosts’ victory, the stadium was quickly filled with the ecstatic screams of home fans. Taichung Bank’s head coach Chen Ke-Chou stated that their victory was a result from executing various strategies as a direct response to the Korea Armed Forces’ playing style.

“We lost the third set because of our team’s lapse in blocking.  We failed to convey clear goals while attempting to block the strong spikes from the Korean side. I hope that my players will keep their faith in playing a better and more controlled game in the days to come.”

In the Thursday’s semi-finals, Taichung Bank are due to go up against Pavlodar VC from Kazakhstan, which recovered from the first-set down 19-25 to take the remaining three sets 25-16 25-19 25-21 in their quarter-final match against Iraq’s South Gas Club.

Martin Sopko tallied 17 points for Pavlodar VC, while Christian Fromm handed South Gas Club crucial 18 points including 14 kills from 44 attempts and three ace serves.

Meanwhile, seven-time champions Paykan of Iran had an easy match against Migrasiya on Wednesday, thrashing the Turkmenistan squad in a one-sided battle 25-21 25-13 25-13 in just 63 minutes. The Iranians next take on the 2012 winners Al Arabi Sport Club from Qatar in the semi-finals.

Migrasiya’s head coach Gambarguly Atayev commented, “My team has already met our grand expectation towards the championship – to be included in the last eight teams. In contrast of other teams leading their professional players to attend the match, my players have shown to Asia their high potentials by the result of this tournament in Taipei. What’s worth to mention is that it’s our great honour to fight hard against the mighty Taichung Bank before we lost 1-3 on the very first day of the match, empowering our team confidence to confront our upcoming opponents.”

Al Arabi Sport Club on Wednesday overcame a daunting challenge from China’s BAIC Motor to power past the team which finished third at the last year’s episode in Pasay, the Philippines in thrilling three sets 25-18 25-17 25-22.

Durruthy Camejo led Al Arabi Sport Club with 24 points including 19 kills from 33 attempts, while Jiang Chuan topscored with 13 points for BAIC Motor.

In the 9th-12th playoffs at the Taipei Gym, Nakhonratchasima from Thailand proved too strong for Cignal to outclass the Philippine team in comfortable straight sets 25-18 25-16 25-14. On Thursday, the Thai squad will battle it out with Japan’s Panasonic, the team they had already beaten 3-1 in the Pool G clash earlier, for the 9th place. Panasonic survived a determined challenge from Trang An Ninh Binh to beat the Vietnamese opponents in pulsating three sets 25-13 25-23 30-28 on Wednesday. Cignal will take on Trang An Ninh Binh to vie for the 11th position.

In the 13th-16th playoffs, Oman’s Sohar struggled hard to beat NDS from Afghanistan in hard-fought five-set thriller 24-26 19-25 25-23 30-28 15-11 to next fight for the 13th place against Victorian Volleyball Academy. The Aussies on Wednesday came from behind to beat Kuwait’s Qadsia Sporting Club 15-25 30-28 25-17 25-17. NDS and Oadsia Sporting Club will contest the 15th-16th playoff.

WEDNESDAY’S RESULTS

AT UNIVERSITY OF TAIPEI HALL

1st-8th QUARTER-FINALS

Taichung Bank Club (Chinese Taipei) b Korea Armed Forces (Korea) 3-1 (25-18 25-19 26-28 25-17)

Paykan (Iran) b Migrasiya (Turkmenistan) 3-0 (25-21 25-13 25-13)

Al Arabi Sport Club (Qatar) b BAIC Motor (China) 3-0 (25-18 25-17 25-22)

Pavlodar VC (Kazakhstan) b South Gas Club (Iraq) 3-1 (19-25 25-16 25-19 25-21)

AT TAIPEI GYM

9th-12th PLAYOFFS

Nakhonratchasima (Thailand) b Cignal (Philippines) 3-0 (25-18 25-16 25-14)

Panasonic (Japan) b Trang An Ninh Binh (Vietnam) 3-0 (25-13 25-23 30-28)

13th-16th PLAYOFFS

Sohar (Oman) b NDS (Afghanistan) 3-2 (24-26 19-25 25-23 30-28 15-11)

Victorian Volleyball Academy (Australia) b Qadsia Sporting Club (Kuwait) 3-1 (15-25 30-28 25-17 25-17)

MATCH SCHEDULE (All local times)

AUGUST 20, 2015

AT UNIVERSITY OF TAIPEI HALL

5th-8th PLAYOFFS

1pm: Korea Armed Forces (Korea) v South Gas Club (Iraq)

3pm: Migrasiya (Turkmenistan) v BAIC Motor (China)

SEMI-FINALS

5pm: Taichung Bank Club (Chinese Taipei) v Pavlodar VC (Kazakhstan)

7pm: Paykan (Iran) v Al Arabi Sport Club (Qatar)

AT TAIPEI  GYM

PLAYOFFS

1pm: 15th-16th: NDS (Afghanistan) v Qadsia Sporting Club Kuwait)

3pm: 13th-14th: Sohar (Oman) v Victorian Volleyball Academy (Australia)

5pm: 11th-12th Cignal (Philippines) v Trang An Ninh Binh (Vietnam)

7pm: 9th-10th: Nakhonratchasima (Thailand) v Panasonic (Japan)

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