Iraqis win sends Power Pinoys to volley quarters

By Joey Villar, The Philippine Star

Posted at Apr 13 2014 08:44 AM | Updated as of Apr 13 2014 04:44 PM

MANILA, Philippines - South Gas Club Sports Iraq drubbed Altain Bars Mongolia, 25-12, 25-17, 23-25, 25-15, yesterday, giving PLDT Home TVolution Philippines a free ride to the quarterfinals of the 2014 Asian Men’s Club Volleyball Championship presented by PLDT Home Fibr at the MOA Arena in Pasay City.

The Iraqis thus swept the three-team Group A cast while handing the other berth to the Power Pinoys after the hosts finished second with a 1-1 card after sweeping the Mongolians in the opener last Tuesday.

“We’re ready for the quarterfinals,” said Phl coach Francis Vicente, whose wards lost to the taller, stronger Iraqis, 25-22, 25-19, 25-18, last Thursday.

There were some anxious moments, however, after the Iraqis conceded a set for the first time when, after going 2-0 up, coach Alaa Khalaf Abdul Sa pulled out his starters.

That gave the Mongolians the cue as they snatched the third frame behind the power-hitting duo of Erdenebaat Enkhtugs and Adiyasuren Tuvshintuguldur.

But the Iraqis came back strong and dominated the fourth to finish off the Mongolians, who bowed out with a 0-2 card.

“We didn’t worry that much, we needed to play my other players,” said Abdul Sa, who, however, belittled the hosts’ chances in the quarters set to start tomorrow.

“I’m sorry, Mongolia has five to six players who are good while Phl has only one good player,” said Abdul Sa.

The other quarterfinalists are Matin Varamin of Iran, Zahraa Al Minaa of Lebanon, Al Rayyan of Qatar and Baic Motors of China.