Manila, Philippines, May 1, 2015 – Thailand and Japan dominated their opponents on the opening day of the Rebisco U23 Asian Women’s Volleyball Championship powered by PLDT Home & Smart Live More at the PSC Philsports Arena on Friday.
Thailand commanded a straight-sets (25-14, 25-10, 25-13) victory over Uzbekistan in Pool D, with Ajcharaporn Kongyot leading the charge with 18 points.
Thailand’s hitters had a field day in attack as captain Pornpun Guedpard directed well-orchestrated plays to take control of the first and second sets. Pornpun was rested in the third frame by an equally crafty setter, Parinya Pankaew, who drew the same commanding outcome for the Thai side.
Japan overwhelmed the less-experienced Maldives 3-0 (25-4, 25-11, 25-3) in a lopsided match in Pool C. The East Asians held the Maldivians to a single-digit score in the first and third sets.
Meanwhile, India and Iran also had winning efforts on the opening day of the inaugural women’s U23 age-group competition.
In Pool B, India defeated Macau 3-0 (25-10, 25-14, 25-19) to open the championship. Nirmala and captain Muraleedhara Shyamala Poornima led India in scoring with 17 and 13 points, respectively.
The host team fell short against Iran in an exciting four-set duel (25-22, 25-22, 19-25, 25-20) in Pool A. Iran showed better composure in the end game as the hosts drew loud cheers from the crowd. The Philippines relied on their captain Alyssa Valdez, who topped all scorers with 31 points – a point more than Iran’s Mahsa Saberi and Mahsa Kadkhoda combined scoring efforts of 30 points.
“We really fought our hearts out,” Philippine coach Roger Gorayeb said. “We took a gallant stand because we only had three weeks of preparation. We committed elementary mistakes and that showed the team’s inexperience. We really dreaded to show our inexperience in this match.”
A total of 12 teams are participating in the inaugural competition, vying for two slots on offer for the FIVB Women’s U23 World Championship in Turkey from August 12 to 19.
The participating teams comprise China, Japan, Korea, Chinese Taipei, Thailand, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Iran, India, Maldives, the Philippines and Macau. The competition continues until May 9.
Pool A: Iran b Philippines 3-1 (25-22 25-22 19-25 25-20)
Pool B: India b Macau 3-0 (25-10 25-14 25-19)
Pool C: Japan b Maldives 3-0 (25-4 25-11 25-3)
Pool D: Thailand b Uzbekistan 3-0 (25-14 25-10 25-13)
Match schedule (all local time)
Saturday’s pool round-robin preliminaries
12.00pm: Pool D: Korea v Uzbekistan
14.30pm: Pool A: Kazakhstan v Philippines
16.30pm: Pool B: China v India
18.30pm: Pool C: Japan v Chinese Taipei