Qataris too strong, rout Power Pinoys for semis berth
MANILA, Philippines — Qatar’s Al-Rayyan produced a stunning display of firepower to overwhelm the inexperienced Philippine PLDT HOME TVolution squad, 25-17, 25-14, 25-21, last night and end the Power Pinoys’ title bid in the 2014 Asian Men’s Club Volleyball Championship at Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
The Qataris silenced the home crowd with their superior attacking game, reminding the Power Pinoys of the gap in quality and skill between them and the elite teams in the continent. The match lasted just 71 minutes.
The victory sent the Qataris, last year’s losing finalist, to a semifinal showdown with Kazakhstan’s Kondensat, which earlier walloped Iraq’s South Gas Club, 25-21, 25-16, 25-20.
The Power Pinoys fell into the classification battle for fifth spot, where they will get the chance to avenge their pool play loss to Iraq in a 12 noon duel Tuesday.
Defending champion Iran, represented by Matin Varamin, also clinched its place in the semifinals after surviving a gritty Chinese Taipei, 24-26, 25-21, 27-25, 25-22.
The Iranians will face China’s Baic Motor which came from behind to oust Lebanon’s Al Zahra, 23-25, 25-22, 25-16, 25-12.
Despite drawing the biggest turnout of the tournament at 6,000, the Power Pinoys struggled to get their attack going as the Qataris, with three players standing over 6 feet 6, put up a virtual wall at the net.
The Qataris scored 10 points off blocks and also had six service aces. Al-Rayyan also had an overwhelming advantage in attack points, 41-19.
Qatar showcased a gem of a reinforcement in Cristian Savani, a bronze medalist for Italy in the London Olympics, who finished with 19 hits on 17-of-22 attack clip.
Cedric Legrand, the Power Pinoys’ Aussie import, turned in nine points, but he needed 26 attempts to get his output.
The Power Pinoys could only keep up with the Qataris midway in the third set at 14-16, before Savani delivered three of the next four points to spark the breakaway.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.