MANILA, Philippines - (UPDATED) Al Rayyan of Qatar bundled out PLDT Home TVolution with its power game and fashioned out a 25-17, 25-14, 25-21 victory to advance to the semifinal round of the 2014 Asian Men’s Volleyball Club Championship presented by PLDT Home Fibr at the MOA Arena in Pasay City yesterday.
The Power Pinoys tried to put up a fight in the third, seizing 11-9 and 13-12 leads, but the Qataris reasserted their might with Italian import Christian Savani peppering the hosts with a wide array of hits that quashed whatever hopes the Filipinos had in the event which stakes a slot in the World Champions in Brazil next month.
The 32-year-old Savani, who led the Italian national team for 12 straight years before accepting a lucrative offer worth a whopping $40,000 or about P2 million to play for Qatar, finished off the Power Pinoys with a match-high 19 hits, including 17 kills.
“I’m happy right now that we won,” said Savani, member of the Italian team that snared a silver medal in the 2004 Athens Olympics and a bronze in the 2012 London Games.
The win thus sent Qatar to the Final Four against Kondensat Kazakhstan, which smashed South Gas Club Sports Iraq, 25-21, 25-16, 25-20, earlier while relegating Team Phl to the consolation pool.
But the Power Pinoys will be facing the Iraqis, who dealt them a 25-22, 25-19, 25-18 defeat in the group stages of this tournament supported by Mikasa, Healthway Medical, Maynilad, Gerflor Spurway, Senoh Equipment, STI, PSC, Makati Mayor Junjun Binay, Pasay City Mayor Antonino Calixto and MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino.
“Hopefully we could avenge our earlier loss to Iraq,” said Phl coach Francis Vicente.
Down two sets, Team Phl fought back behind Jason Ramos, whose attack gave the hosts a 13-12 lead in the third to the delight of the boisterous crowd.
But Savani silenced them by scoring three of his team’s next four points as Qatar regained the lead, 16-14, en route to the sweep.
Earlier, defending champion Matin Varamin Iran survived Chinese Taipei, hacking out a 24-26, 25-21, 27-25, 25-22 victory to likewise advance to the semis.
Sharifat Mostafa, Seyed Mohammad Mousavi, Mirzajanpour Mojtaba and Mikaeil Tajer scored 14, 13, 13 and 10 hits, respectively, as they fended off the stubborn Taiwanese, who fielded in their national team players.