Manila, Philippines, April 8, 2014 – The PLDT Home Fibr 2014 Asian Men’s Club Volleyball Championship started with five exciting matches after an exceptional opening ceremony at the Mall of Asia Arena on Tuesday.
Hosts PLDT Home TVolution made an impressive debut in the competition with a straight-sets victory (25-13, 25-23, 25-16) over Mongolian club Altain Bars. The home team capitalized on the attacking strength of Australian import Cedric Legrand who anchored PLDT Home TVolution with 18 points. Alnakran Abdilla scored 12 points in PLDT Home TVolution’s first triumph in Pool A.
Lebanon’s Zahraa Al Minaa needed five sets (20-25, 25-20, 22-25, 25-18, 15-13) to edge Vietnam’s Duc Long Gia Lai in Pool B. Although Zahraa dominated in all statistical skill departments, Duc Long Gia Lai’s pesky defense caused trouble to the Lebanese side.
"Vietnam played very good defense," said Lebanon mentor Simon Atallah. "We're not a stable team, but the players adjusted well in this match."
Al-Rayyan of Qatar, last edition’s runners-up, showed no signs of slowing down. This time, boosted by prolific Italian hitter Cristian Savani who led the team with 23 points, they came up with a 3-1 win (25-23, 25-20, 19-25, 25-16) over Turkmenistan’s Migrasiya in Pool C at the Cuneta Astrodome.
In the other Pool C match, Kazakhstan’s Kondensat-Zhaikmunay prevailed over Hong Kong’s Green Dragon team in straight sets (25-16, 25-17, 25-20).
Chinese Taipei had no problems in upsetting Papua New Guinea’s Amoa NCD, finishing the match in under an hour with a 3-0 (25-12, 25-14, 25-7) win. Chinese Taipei took advantage of the defensive lapses of Amoa NCD to seal their first victory in Pool D.
Defending champions Iran lead an impressive cast of teams in the Asian Club Championship. Iran has taken nine Asian Championship titles.
Iran’s Matin Varamin boast a strong lineup spearheaded by playmaker and national team captain Mir Saied Marouf, and blocking specialist Seyed Mohammed Mousavi. The club is expected to deliver the same strength their predecessors have shown in previous editions of the championship.
Matin Varamin’s first match will see them play Japan’s Oita Miyoshi Weisse Adler. Other teams from Oman, China and the United Arab Emirates, will be also be seeing action on the second day of the championship.
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