Manila, Philippines, April 15, 2014 - Iraq's South Gas Club Sports reasserted its mastery over Philippines' PLDT Home TVolution with a straight set 3-0 (25-17, 25-21, 25-21) victory, while Chinese Taipei overpowered a weary Zahraa Al Minaa of Lebanon in straight sets 3-0 (25-12, 25-23, 25-17) in the consolation round for fifth to eighth places of the PLDT Home Fibr 2014 Asian Men's Club Volleyball Championship at the Mall of Asia Arena on Tuesday.
The South Gas Club Sports' triumph sets them up for a battle for fifth and sixth place with Chinese Taipei on Wednesday. The Filipinos' loss, meanwhile, further relegated them to a battle for seventh to eighth place with Philippines' PLDT Home TVolution
The Iraqi squad, who ruled the PLDT Home TVolution team in the preliminaries, came out smoking at all ends as the win kept their bid alive to remain in the top eight teams in the Club Championship.
Metodi Aleksandaron Ananiev, from Bulgaria, had his time in the spotlight as he led South Gas Club Sports with 19 points - 15 coming from attacks and four from blocks - while Hussein Mustafa Gani added 11 hits.
South Gas Club Sports coach Khalaf Abdul Sa Alaa admitted the tight schedule of the tournament is taking its toll on his stalwarts, but they refused to give up easily.
Australian import Cedric Legrand topscored for the Filipinos with 13 points, while six other players could only finish in single figures.
PLDT Home TVolution were powerless against South Gas Club Sports both on the offensive and defensive ends. South Gas Club Sports converted more kills (35-31) and blocks (11-7).
For a minute, PLDT Home TVolution were poised to snatch the set win when it tied the score at 14-all in the third set, but the South Gas Club Sports, led by Metodi sprung into action to quickly grab the upperhand at 24-19.
Legrand briefly breathed life with three straight points for the Filipinos, until Metodi found a chance and produced a crosscourt smash that sealed the match victory.
In the other match for fifth to eighth positions, Chinese Taipei beat Zahraa Al Minaa of Lebanon in straight sets.
Wang Ming-Chun spearheaded the Chinese Taipei team with 15 kills and three aces to finish with 18 points, even as Huang Chien-Feng contributed 12 hits as they arranged a duel for fifth to sixth places with South Gas Club Sports of Iraq on Wednesday.
Zahraa Al Minaa, meanwhile, set up a meeting for seventh to eighth places with PLDT Home TVolution of the Philippines.
"I just told my players to enjoy the match," said Chinese Taipei mentor Chen Ke-Chou.
Chinese Taipei leaned on their net and floor defense as only Jhonlenn Barreto managed to score in twin figures for the Lebanese squad with 13 hits. Power-hitter Arthur Al Zayek and Bruno Furtado could only do nine and seven points, respectively.
"Everything was against us even before the start of this match," said Zahraa Al Minaa coach Simon Atallah, who said four of his players were ill. "But we keep on trying our best to show a good picture of what Zahraa Al Minaa volleyball looks like."
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