Iran spoils Laure's breakout game, turns back Foton Pilipinas

Mark Escarlote on Sep 10, 2016 04:20 PM
Iran spoils Laure's breakout game, turns back Foton
Mahsa Kadkhoda of Sarmayeh Bank-Iran attacks the defense of Foton Pilipinas' Jaja Santiago and Lindsay Stalzer.

BINAN CITY, LAGUNA --- Sarmayeh Bank spoiled EJ Laure’s breakout game as the Iranians downed Foton Pilipinas of the Philippines, 25-18, 25-21, 12-25, 25-22, Saturday in the 2016 AVC Asian Women’s Club Volleyball Championship classification phase for 5th to 8th at the Alonte Sports Arena here.

Laure, a member of the national team that participated in the 2015 Asian U-23 Championship, waxed-hot in the third set with the Tornadoes down two frames.

The incoming University of Sto. Tomas third year hitter finished with 12 points, scoring seven in the third frame when Foton Pilipinas made a scoring spurt to build a huge 21-9 lead. The Tornadoes were able to keep the game close in the fourth set and even took an 18-16 lead.

But the Iranians proved to be a tough customer as Farnoosh Sheikh hammered the host team’s net defense with sharp and hard running spikes and cross court hits in an 8-1 counterattack to reach matchpoint, 24-19.

Laure gave the Tornadoes two straight points on back-to-back attacks after Sheikh committed a service error to draw closer, 24-19. But setter Rhea Dimaculangan touched the net on the next play as Foton Pilipinas dropped its fifth straight match and was relegated in the battle for seventh place against T. Grand of Chinese-Taipei on Sunday.            

“The team is not mature enough to handle this kind of international pressure,” said Foton Pilipinas coach Fabio Menta.

But the Italian mentor gave credit to his young team as they held their own against a team composed of Iran’s national squad.  

“We showed that we can match a high level team like Iran,” he added.

Sheikhi smashed 12 spikes, had three kill blocks and a pair of service aces for a total of 17 points for Iran, which will challenge Thongtin Lien Viet Post Bank-Vietnam for the fifth spot on Sunday. Mahsa Kadkhoda had 16 points while Maedeh Borhani Esfahani scored 10 for Iran.

Vietnam defeated Chinese-Taipei, 25-14, 25-15, 25-14, in their classification match.

American import Lindsay Stalzer had 18 points on 16 kills while team captain Jaja Santiago had 11 markers for the Tornadoes, who can surpass Vietnam’s eighth place finish in last year’s edition in Vietnam.

The Philippines best finish in the tournament was in 2006 at sixth spot.

Meanwhile, April 25 of Democratic People's Republic of Korea took the ninth spot with a 21-25, 25-13, 25-9, 25-21 win over Jakarta Electrik-Indonesia.  




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