Final four set in Asian clubs volleyball
TDT | Manama
The Daily Tribune – www.newsofbahrain.com
The title chase has come down to the final four teams in the 2023 Asian Men’s Club Volleyball Championship, being hosted this week by the Kingdom of Bahrain.
Japan’s Suntory Sunbirds, Iran’s Shahdab Yazd, Qatar’s Police Sports Team and Indonesia’s Jakarta Bhayangkara Presisi all punched their tickets to the tournament’s last four yesterday, on the first of two days of quarter-final pool play at Isa Sports City in Riffa.
The Sunbirds, Shahdab and Police maintained their undefeated records so far in the competition, while Bhayangkara continued their impressive resurgence following an opening night loss. With the semis participants now confirmed, their head-to-head match-ups are left to be determined today when action wraps up in both the quarters and placement pools.
The Sunbirds and Bhayangkara will be battling at 2 pm for Pool E supremacy, followed at 4.30 pm by Shahdab and Police squaring off for first place in Pool F. In the knockout semi-finals, the top team from Pool E will face the runners-up of Pool F, while the Pool E second-placers will lock horns with the Pool F winners.
In yesterday’s consolation Pools G and H, which will determine the tournament’s final rankings from ninth through 16th, victorious were Bahrain’s Al Ahli, Australia’s Canberra Heat, Taichung Bank from Chinese Taipei, and Atyrau VC from Kazakhstan.
Today’s games are scheduled to be held from 11.30am and continue until the night, with the day’s last fixtures set to start no earlier than 7pm. Entrance is free and all are welcome to enjoy the intense volleyball action.
The Sunbirds were flying high in their 3-0 (25-21, 25-19, 25-19) Pool E victory over Korean Air Jumbos Pro-Volleyball Club, thus securing their final four berth and eliminating their rivals from further title contention.
Russian superstar Dmitriy Muserskiy had 16 points to spearhead the Sunbirds, while Cuban Alain Junior de Armas added 10 points and Kenji Sato had nine. Donghyeok Im was the leading scorer for Jumbos with 16 in the loss, while Hanyong Jeong and Jiwe Jin finished with seven apiece. The Sunbirds now face off with Bhayangkara to determine the Pool E winners.
“I’m glad that we won this match; I’ve never played against Korea in my life and that was surprising for me,” said Muserskiy.
“We showed our volleyball and what we can do. I’m really glad we won 3-0 as we could save some energy for tomorrow’s match. “Of course, our goal is to win the championship. We will show our best volleyball and if we can reach the final, even win, that will be very nice for us.”
The Indonesians claimed their own 3-0 (25-19, 25-15, 25-14) victory against Bayankhongor Crownd Geo VC of Mongolia, whose semi-final hopes have also been dashed. Farhan Halim was once again their best performer with 20 points, while Ugandan Daudi Okello had 13 and Mohammadjav Manavinezhad contributed 12.
Batsuuri Battur and Bayarsaikhan Batsukh had seven each to lead the Mongolians. Bhayangkara skipper Nizar Julfikare Munawar said: “This match was good for us; we won easily. “The true games are now in the semi-finals and tomorrow against Suntory.
“We have learned about our tactics in this game, we played well but have more mistakes. Tomorrow, we will push more to be best prepared for the semi-finals.” In Pool F, Shahdab were convincing 3-0 (25-16, 25-20, 25-23) winners against Kuwait Sports Club.
Shahrooz Homayonfarmanesh finished with 12 points as the Iranians’ leading scorer, while Amir Ghafour added eight and Meisam Salehi finished with seven points. Saber Kazemi, who is from Iran, led Kuwait with 18 markers, while Abdullah Mansour had eight.