Chinese Taipei finish fifth, host place seventh at Asian Men’s Club Championship
Manila, Philippines, April 16, 2014 – Chinese Taipei overwhelmed South Gas Club Sports of Iraq in straight sets 3-0 (25-22, 25-18, 25-19) to settle for fifth place; while Philippines' PLDT HOME TVolution squandered a two-set edge before hacking out a pulsating 3-2 (25-19, 26-24, 13-25, 21-25, 15-13) victory over Lebanon's Zahraa Al Minaa, to finish seventh place in the PLDT Home Fibr 2014 Asian Men's Club Volleyball Championship at the Mall of Asia Arena on Wednesday.
Huang Chien-Feng spearheaded the attack with 11 points, all coming from kills, as Chinese Taipei relied on their powerful serves and strong digs to outclass the Iraqi side.
"I'm hoping that next year, we'll have a better performance than this," said Chinese Taipei coach Chen Ke-Chou, whose team failed to eclipse Chinese Taipei's 2013 bronze medal.
Liu Hung-Min and Wang Ming-Chun added 10 points each for Chinese Taipei, which dominated South Gas Club Sports offensively with more attack points 37-28.
Bulgarian import Metodi Aleksandaron Ananiev was the lone double-digit scorer for South Gas Club Sports, firing 14 points on spikes, while Hungarian Arpad Baroti and Falih Mohammesali conspired for 13 points.
Alnakran Abdilla starred for the Filipinos with 25 points – 22 coming from attacks including a power spike that sealed the win –to outplay a resilient Lebanese crew, who was missing their top spiker Bruno Furtado due to fever.
"I told them we've got nothing to lose in this game," said PLDT Home TVolution team coach Francis Vicente. “We must go out there and play beyond our expectations for ourselves and for the crowd. We want a good finish.”
Australian reinforcement Cedric Legrand also shinned for the Filipinos, scoring 12 points, including 10 kills, while Jeff Malabanan added nine hits including four of the team's last five points.
Jhonlenn Barreto and Arthur Al Zayek stepped up with 21 points each for Zahraa Al Minaa, which settled for eighth place, but still improved its 12th place finish from 2013.
Although Zahraa Al Minaa produced more attacks (64-53) and service aces (5-2), PLDT Home TVolution had more blocks 14-11 with Australian setter William Lewis pouring in all his four blocks in the last two sets.
"We missed our top player in Bruno, but regardless, we played a very good team and a very good game," said Zahraa Al Minaa skipper Louay El-Sharif. "His absence affected us, but not to the extent that we lost the game because we are ready to play without Bruno.”