AVC Cup: Undefeated teams China, Japan set up title showdown
MANILA, Philippines— Defending champion China and Japan forge a winner-take-all game for the 2022 AVC Cup for Women crown on Monday at PhilSports Arena.
China earned its seventh finals appearance in the tournament after staving off a hard-fighting Thailand side, 19-25, 25-20, 25-14, 23-25, 15-10 in their semifinal clash on Sunday.
On the other hand, Japan recovered from a grueling third-set loss before ousting Vietnam, 25-17, 25-22, 34-36, 25-10, for the last championship ticket.
The Chinese and Japanese clash for the AVC Cup title for the second straight time since 2018. Both squads are undefeated with China sweeping all of its six matches while Japan is 5-0 heading into the gold medal game set at 7 p.m.
Japan leaned on Mizuki Tanaka, who led the charge in the semifinals with 21 points. Yuki Nishikawa delivered 19 points, while middle blocker Hiroyo Yamanaka had six blocks to finish with 14 points as they fended off Tran Thi Thanh Thuy, who unloaded 16 of her game-high 29 points to win the third set.
“China is very strong. So we are focusing on our serve so we can win against China,” said Japan coach Akira Koshiya.
Wu Mengjie scored 13 of her 29 points in the second set, while Zhuang Yushan and Zhou Yetong put up 17 points each as China survived Thailand’s tough challenge.
“We will just try our best and prepare for tomorrow’s match,” said China coach Kuang Qi through an interpreter as he looks to extend their reign which started in 2014.
Chatchu-on Moksri led the Thais with 21 points, including two blocks, while Pimpichaya Kokram, scoreless in the first two sets, caught fire down the stretch and finish with 12 points only to fall short of reaching the finals.
Thailand and Vietnam take their Southeast Asian Games rivalry in the battle for third at 4 p.m.
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