The quarter-final pools are set for the 2023 Asian Men’s Club Volleyball Championship, being hosted by Bahrain.
Top contenders the Suntory Sunbirds from Japan, South Korea’s Korean Air Jumbos Pro-Volleyball Club, Shahdab Yazd of Iran and Police Sporting Club of Qatar – all of whom had already secured their qualification to the next phase prior to yesterday’s play – were joined in the elite eight by Indonesia’s Jakarta Bhayangkara Presisi, Kuwait Sporting Club, Bayankhongor Crownd Geo VC from Mongolia and South Gas Sports Club of Iraq.
Bahrain’s Al Ahli Club were unceremoniously eliminated from further title contention despite winning their final assignment of the preliminary round against the Canberra Heat.
Jakarta Bhayangkara sealed the hosts’ fate with a stunning victory against the Jumbos, which also earned the Indonesians first place in Pool A.
Shahdab topped Pool B, the Sunbirds were first in Pool C and Police led Pool D.
Today is a rest day and action in the quarter-final and consolation pools begins tomorrow.
The Sunbirds and Bayankhongor are in quarter-final Pool E along with Jakarta Bhayangkara and Jumbos; while Pool F features Shahdab, South Gas, Police and Kuwait.
The remaining eight sides are Diamond Food Fine Chef-Air Force of Thailand, Khaypil Sports Club of Yemen, Ahli and Canberra in consolation Pool G; along with Taichung Bank of Chinese-Taipei, Kam Air of Afghanistan, Atyrau VC of Kazakhstan and Aspiring Volleyball Team from Hong Kong in consolation Pool H.
Ahli completed their preliminary round campaign with a resounding 3-0 (25-21, 25-19, 25-20) victory over their Aussie rivals. The Bahrainis were in control from the opening serve and earned their second win of the tournament to go to five points on the Pool A standings, but it was not enough to send them through.
Brazilian Gabriel Candido scored 21 points to spearhead the Ahli cause, while Mohammed Yaqoob had eight and Ali Alsairafi seven. Kevin Phang and Trent O’Dea finished with nine points apiece to pace Canberra in their third straight defeat.
In Jakarta Bhayangkara’s big win over Jumbos in yesterday’s other Pool A fixture, Farhan Halim put on an impressive 24-point effort to help lift his club against their heavily favoured opponents. The Indonesians needed a win to ensure their spot in the next stage along with the Koreans, and they delivered superbly with a 3-1 (30-28, 25-17, 22-25, 25-21) result.
Mohammadjav Manavinezhad added 21 and Ugandan Daudi Okello scored 17 for Jakarta Bhayangkara, while Donghyeok Im finished with 21 to pace Jumbos.
Mongolia’s Bayankhongor secured a hard-earned berth in the quarter-final pools from Pool C following a stunning 3-0 (25-19, 25-18, 25-15) sweep of Diamond Food of Thailand.
Bayankhongor came away with the full three points to add to the crucial point they previously earned in their five-set loss to Yemen’s Khaypil Sports Club on Sunday. That was enough to put them through ahead of the Thais, who finished with three points from their lone victory and two straight-set losses.
Batsuuri Battur had a game-high 24 points to spearhead the Mongolians, while teammate Bayarsaikhan Batsukh added 13.
Also in Pool C, Japan’s Suntory Sunbirds, runners-up from last year’s tournament, completed a clean sweep of the preliminaries with a resounding 3-0 (25-17, 25-17, 25-15) victory over Yemen’s Khaypil. For the second straight game, the Japanese opted to rest some key players but were still dominant.
Cuban Alain Junior de Armas, who was one of the key Sunbirds players not to play in yesterday’s fixture, expressed encouragement in his team’s strong showing so far in Bahrain.
Chinese ace Shikun Peng and Kenshin Kuwada had 10 points apiece to pace the Sunbirds. Russian star Dmitriy Muserskiy added nine points in his limited time on the court.
The Egyptian pair of Amr Elawwad and Essa Elhossiny scored 10 points apiece for Khaypil in the loss.
In Pool B, Iraq’s South Gas secured their elite eight status after defeating Kam Air VC of Afghanistan 3-0 (25-18, 25-22, 25-19). The Iraqis claimed their second win of this stage with one loss for six points, and they finished behind Shahdab on the group table.
Russian Aleksandr Petrov and Bulgarian Todor Skrimov scored 15 points apiece for the winners, while three players had 10 each for Kam Air, namely Mohammed Wardak, Ghulam Rasool Hidari and Sayed Habib Yousufi.
Shahdab completed their three-game sweep of Pool B with a commanding 3-0 (25-13, 25-19, 25-20) decision against Taichung Bank of Chinese-Taipei.
Meisam Salehi scored 15 points to lead the Iranians while Malati Mohammad Sadeghi chipped in with 10 as Shahdab improved to a maximum nine points atop their group table. Yu-Sheng Chang scored nine to pace Taichung, who suffered their second loss to finish on three points.
In Pool D, Qatar’s Police took care of business against Aspiring Volleyball Team of Hong Kong 3-0 (25-16, 25-6, 25-22).
Papemaguette Diagne scored 13 points and Estonian Oliver Venno had 11 to lead the victors, who topped their group with nine points and an unbeaten record. Wai Lumg Lam was Aspiring’s top man with 11 markers.
Kuwait were also victorious against Kazakhstan’s Atyrau, who put up some resistance in a 3-0 (30-28, 27-25, 25-21) result.
Iranian Saber Kazemi had a scintillating 29 points for the Kuwaitis, while Libin Liu from China added 15. Vitaliy Vorivodin scored 13 for the Kazakhs.