Pinoys scramble for shot at seventh, bow to Iraqis

By Joey Villar, The Philippine Star

Posted at Apr 16 2014 08:51 AM | Updated as of Apr 16 2014 04:51 PM

MANILA, Philippines - South Gas Club Sports Iraq repeated over the PLDT Home TVolution Philippines, 25-17, 25-21, 25-21, yesterday to stay in the hunt for fifth while relegating the hosts to a shot at seventh place in the 2014 Asian Men’s Volleyball Club Championship presented by PLDT Home Fibr at the MOA Arena in Pasay City.

With Bulgarian import Ananiev Metodi on the firing end, the Iraqis pounced on the Power Pinoys’ token floor and net defense to fashion out a repeat of their 25-22, 25-19, 25-18 romp in the group stages last week.

Al Rayyan of Qatar dominated Kondensat Zhaikmunay of Kazakhstan, 25-22, 25-22, 25-19, to book a ticket to the finals.

Reinforcements Gerardo Yosleyder Cala and Cristian Savani led the Qataris’ attack right from the opening serve to advance to the championship round of this 16-nation tournament.

Qatar will face the winner between Baic Motor of China and Matin Varamin of Iran in the finals at 4 p.m. today The Chinese and the Iranians are still disputing the other championship berth at presstime.

The Iraqis will meet Chinese Taipei in today’s final day of competitions for fifth. The Taiwanese also swept the Zahraa Al Minaa of Lebanon side, 25-12, 25-23, 25-17.

When asked for his assessment of Philippine volleyball, Iraq coach Alaa Khalaf Abdul Sa said: “the Philippines should hire a professional coach.”

He also belittled the Phl’s brand of play, saying its “plays are for girls.”

The Iraqi was referring to the Phl’s running attack, which no country employs anymore.

Phl coach Francis Vicente, a former mentor of multi-titled high school girls team UST and the National U Lady Bulldogs, said his wards held their own in attacking but struggled in floor and net defense as the Iraqis imposed their advantage in height and strength to the hilt.

“I kept telling them in the dugout that defense help us win this match. But we have some lapses especially on our floor defense,” said Vicente.

The Phl will play Zahraa Al Minaa Lebanon at 10 a.m. today.

This event is 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.