Iran wins 2nd straight Asian men's volleyball crown
MANILA, Philippines – Iran reasserted their dominance in the Asian volleyball stage for the second straight year to bag gold at the 2014 PLDT Home Fibr Asian Men's Club Volleyball Championship here.
Powered by their sharp attacks and solid defensive performance, Matin Varamin of Iran were able to wrest their second straight Asian Men's Club Volleyball title, beating Al Rayyan of Qatar, 19-25 25-17, 26-24, 25-16 on Wednesday, April 16 at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The West-Asian region successfully defended the crown club team Kallah Mazandaran won a year ago and successfully punched the continent's lone ticket up for grabs for the World Club Volleyball Championship in Brazil on May.
While only edging Qatar by 1, 43-42 in the attacks department, Iran used a big 18-9 gap in block points to claim the championship trophy.
Shahram Mahmoudi top scored with 19 markers on 15 kills and 4 blocks. He was named Most Valuable Player, while Seyed Mousavi had 13 points on 7 blocks and Mostafa Sharifat also added 13 in the win.
Al Rayyan opened a 22-17 edge in the opener with solid blocking upstairs and with smashing spikes coming from Cala Gerardo and Christian Savani.
Ibrahim put an end to the first set with an emphatic quick hit to draw first blood.
But the moment Qatar couldn't convert on their attacks, they knew they would be in big trouble.
Matin Varamin bombarded their opponents with attacks coming from all angles in the second set, opening an 18-11 advantage before equalizing at 25-17.
Al Rayyan's defense turned sour and were not able to stop Iran's hard hits.
In the third set, Al Rayyan almost had it in the books, racing towards a 19-13 bubble. But Iran's stonewall defense eventually paved way for a robbery.
Down 21-24, Iran's solid coverage at the net prevented any point from the Qataris; a hit by Alireza Nasr Esfahani then another block by Seyed Mousavi allowed Iran to steal the set, 26-24.
Al Rayyan's frustrations took a toll as Yosleyder Cala Gerardo was slapped with a red card for misconduct, leading to a free point for Iran.
The Iranians used this development to light up a 7-1 start in the fourth set. The tandem of Mostafa Sharifat and Shahram Mahmoudi then buried their foes even further, building a huge 22-13. From there it was all over for a struggling Qatar squad, who'll settle for the silver once again.
The title is Iran's 10th gold medal and the 8th in 9 tournaments. They have won 16 medals overall in the Asian club championships.
Christian Savani and Yosleyder Cala Gerardo paced the Qataris with 19 and 17 points, respectively.
China takes bronze
In the bronze medal match, Beijing BAIC Motors of China swept Kondensat-Kazakhstan to take home the 2nd runner-up trophy.
Captain Wout Wijismans, who poured 15 points (11 hits, 3 aces) to lead four scorers in double-digits, said they have to be proud of the accomplishment because it is still something to take home.
"We will bring back to China a bronze medal so we have to be satisfied."
The Chinese had a huge disparity in blocks (13-4) and spikes (38-29) to book an easy 25-17, 25-14, 25-20 victory. READ: Power Pinoys earn 7th place with five-set thriller win over Lebanon
The individual award winners are listed below.
|1st Best Spiker||Samarin Maxim, Kazakhstan|
|2nd Best Spiker||Christian Savani, Qatar|
|Best Libero||Said Saad Sulaiman, Qatar|
|Best Setter||Li Hu Ming, China|
|1st Best Middle Blocker||Seyed Mohammad Mousavi, Iran|
|2nd Best Middle Blocker:||Moustafa Sharifat, Iran|
|Best Opposite Spiker||Vorivodin Vitaliy, Kazakhstan|
|Most Valuable Player||Shahram Mahamoudi, Iran|