Reigning champion Matin Varamin of Iran made its presence felt as it smothered Otia Miyoshi Weisse Adler of Japan, 25-18, 21-25, 25-13, 25-22, in the 2014 Asian Men’s Volleyball Club Championship presented by PLDT Home Fibr on Wednesday at Mall of Asia Arena.
Fresh from a long holiday, the Iranians were impressive on the defensive end, keeping the Japanese attackers in check all game long to claim their first win in Pool B of this tournament organized by Sports Core and in partnership with the Philippine Volleyball Federation (PVF).
Also emerging victorious were Soha Club of Oman, Baic Motors of China and Kondensat Zhaikmunay of Kazakhstan.
Oman recovered from a slow start before notching a 14-25, 25-14, 25-12, 25-20 win over Green Dragon of Hong Kong in Group C, China overcame Chinese Taipei, 20-25, 25-18, 25-23, 25-21, to claim its first victory in Pool D and Kazakhstan flirted with disaster before running away with a 25-17, 23-25, 25-21, 25-22 win over Turkmenistan for its second triumph in Pool C.
National team mainstay Mousavi Seyed had a stellar performance as he finished with 11 of his 13 points on kills while Tajer Mikael and Sharifat Mostafa provided the defensive muscle, punching three blocks apiece to underscore the Iranians’ suffocating net defense.
The taller, more aggressive Iranians nailed a total of 12 blocks in their debut in this tourney backed by Mikasa, Healthway Medical, Maynilad, Gerflor Spurway, Senoh Equipment, STI, PSC, Makati Mayor Junjun Binay, Pasay City Mayor Antonino Calixto and MMDA Chairman lawyer Francis Tolentino.
But Iran’s coach, Daniele Bagnoli of Italy, thinks his wards still have something more to show.
“We just came from a long holiday and we’re not yet in the best condition,” said Bagnoli, adding that the team was formed just last week while some team members joined them four days ago.
“But we will try to do our best to regain our form as the tournament goes by. The ultimate goal is to win this tournament. The next few days will be very difficult so we have to be ready.”
Matin Varamin, which won the Iranian Volleyball Super League early this year, played a flawless game in the opening set, prompting the Japanese to make some minor adjustments in their attacks.
Things, however, turned ugly in the second set as Japan — behind the powerful smashes of Egyptian import Khattab Mohamed — caught fire while taking advantage of the Iranians’ poor reception and a string of service errors.
“We had a lot of mistakes in the second set. We didn’t play well and the Japanese did great in taking advantage of our errors,” Bagnoli said.
Meanwhile, PLDT Home TVolution of the Philippines marches to battle at 12 noon on Thursday against South Gas Club Sports of Iraq for a win that would formalize its entry to the quarterfinals.
All games by the Philippine Team, also known as the Power Pinoys, will be televised live on TV5, the official broadcast partner of the AMCC. The tournament also has Magic 89.9, Wave 89.1, Jam 88.3, Play 99.5 and KLite 103.5 as radio partners.
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