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Al-Rayyan, Matin Varamin in finals of Asian Club Championship for ticket to FIVB Men's Club Championship

Vahid Seyed Abassi of Iran spikes against blocking from Chunlong Liang of China

Manila, Philippines, April 15, 2014 – Qatar’s Al-Rayyan and Iran’s Matin Varamin defeated their opponents Kazakhstan’s Kondensat-Zhaikmunay and Baic Motor of China, respectively, at the semifinals of the PLDT Home Fibr 2014 Asian Men’s Club Volleyball Championship at the Mall of Asia Arena on Tuesday.

Al-Rayyan and Matin Varamin remain undefeated in the competition – leaving the final competition day to determine the best Asain club team and receive the ticket to the FIVB Volleyball Men’s Club World Championship, and force a repeat match-up of last year’s finals.

The losing semifinals Baic Motor of China and Kazakhstan’s Kondensat-Zhaikmunay will play for the bronze medal Wednesday.

Matin Varamin vs. Baic Motor

Last year’s winner Iran, displayed promising performance from Matin Varamin although some of its key athletes are playing ill. The Iranians managed to control the tough Chinese side, Baic Motor in straight sets 3-0 (27-25, 25-23 and 25-20).

Seyed Mohammad Mousavi E. took charge and used his experience to boost the game for his team-mates. Mousavi scored 16 points for Matin Varamin and lifted his team for another finals appearance.

Mojtaba Mirzajanpour also poured 13 hits for Matin Varamin, which arranged a gold medal match with Al-Rayyan of Qatar for the second straight time.

"I was worried about my team because of their condition,” said Matin Varamin's Italian coach Daniele Bagnoli. “They are not physically 100 percent. It's a tough match against China, and the first two sets could have gone the other way, but we held on."

Belgian-Italian Wout Wijsmans and Wang Chen finished 14 points each in a losing effort for Baic Motor, while Canadian Frederic Winters had 12 hits.

Al-Rayyan vs. Kondensat-Zhaikmunay

In the other semifinal, Al-Rayyan struck Kazakhstan’s Kondensat-Zhaikmunay in straight sets 3-0 (25-22, 25-22 and 25-19) with the help of Cuban-born Cala Gerardo Yosleyder and Italian Cristian Savani.

Cuban-born Cala Gerardo Yosleyder delivered 16 points, highlighted with three aces, for Al-Rayyan, who pounced on their rivals from all angles for their third straight finals appearance.

Veteran Olympian Cristian Savani provided the needed support with 14 hits, even as Mohamed Alhachdadi chipped in 13 points.

"It's a difficult game for us, but I think our experience gave us the edge against Kazakhstan," said Al-Rayyan coach Igor Arbutina. "It also helped that we have two experienced players in Cala (Yosleyder) and (Cristian) Savani, because they solved some of the different situations.”

Vitaliy Vorivodin led Kondensat-Zhaikmunay with 16 points – 15 from attacks – while Vladimair Prokofyev finished with nine.

South Gas Club Sports vs. PLDT HOME TVolution

Chinese Taipei vs. Zahraa Al Minaa

In the play-off  matches, Iraq's South Gas Club Sports reasserted its mastery over Philippines' PLDT HOME TVolution with a straight set 3-0 (25-17, 25-21 and 25-21) victory, while Chinese Taipei also overpowered a weary Zahraa Al Minaa of Lebanon in straight sets 3-0 (25-12, 25-23 and 25-17).

South Gas Club Sports' triumph set them a battle for fifth to sixth places, with Chinese Taipei on Wednesday. The Filipinos' loss, meanwhile, further relegated them to a battle for seventh to eighth places with Zahraa Al Minaa of Lebanon.

The Iraqi squad, who ruled the PLDT Home TVolution team in the preliminaries, came out smoking on all ends, as the win kept their bid alive to remain in the top eight teams in the club championship.

In the other match for fifth to eighth, 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 arrange a duel for fifth to sixth places with South Gas Club Sports of Iraq on Wednesday.

"I just told my players to enjoy the match," said Chinese Taipei mentor Chen Ke-Chou.

Despite four of his players being ill, Zahraa Al Minaa coach Simon Atallah said the team worked hard.

"Everything was against us even before the start of this match," Atallah said. "But we keep on trying our best to show a good picture of what Zahraa Al Minaa volleyball looks like."

Ninth to 16th Place

Meanwhile, the rankings for the ninth to 16th were decided Tuesday.

United Arab Emirates’ Alnasr Sports Club claimed ninth spot after beating Migrasiya of Turkmenistan 3-0 (25-22, 25-20 and 25-19). Migrasiya placed tenth.

Vietnam's Duc Long Gia Lai crushed Oman's Sohar in straight sets 3-0 (25-18, 25-12 and 25-22) to wind up at 11th place.

Younis Alaamri finished in the twelfth spot

Japan’s Oita Miyoshi Weisse Adler finished in 13th place who were heavily challenged by the raw talents of Papua New Guinea’s Amoa NCD. However, Oita Miyoshi Weisse Adler of Japan managed to capits run with a 3-1 (25-21, 22-25, 25-20 and 25-15) triumph over Amoa NCD of Papua New Guinea, which bowed out at 14th place

Hong Kong’s Green Dragon wrapped up its campaign with a 3-1 (25-23, 25-16, 23-25 and 25-17) victory over Altain Bars of Mongolia to finish at 15th place, while Mongolia’s Altain Bars wound up last in the 16-nation tournament even as it tried to salvage a win with three players finishing in double figures. 


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