Japan, Thailand set up Finals duel

Mark Escarlote on Aug 16, 2017 07:32 PM
Japan, Thailand set up Finals duel
Thailand gets a championship seat ticket with a masterful win over South Korea.

BINAN CITY, Laguna –-- Japan and Thailand eliminated the finalists two years ago to ensure a new champion in the 19th AVC Asian Senior Women's Volleyball Championship on Wednesday at the Alonte Sports Arena here.

Unbeaten Japan dethroned China with a 25-17, 25-18, 25-18 victory in the semifinals to set up a winner-take-all championship match against the Thais on Thursday in a rematch of the 2013 Finals.

Thailand swept the 2015 runnerup South Korea, 25-20, 25-20, 25-21, to return in the Finals since winning it all in 2013.

The Thais, who came off a sweep of the Philippines in the quarterfinals, were sharp and consistent the whole match as the Koreans played catch up. 

Ajcharaporn Kongyot unleashed 17 points - all from attacks - while young gun Chatchu-on Moksri was unstoppable as the 17-year-old Thai phenom uncorked 16 markers from 13 kills and three kills.

Pimchaya Kokram added 11 for the Thais, who smashed 50 attack points compared to 35 of South Korea.

"Actually, we never expected to win like this but we just played our game," said three-time tournament Best Setter Nootsara Tomkom, who dished out 42 excellent sets to orchestrate the fluid and balanced offensive thrust of Thailand against the shell-shocked Koreans.

Korean star Kim Yeonkoung tried to rally her team to no avail, wasting a 21-point effort.

Five Japanese players scored in double figures to help the Asian powerhouse squad advance in the championship round and set up a rematch against the same team they defeated in four sets in the quarterfinals classification round to top Pool F.

Risa Shinnabe and Rika Nomoto scored 13 points each for the Japanese squad, who finished sixth in the 2015 edition, while skipper Nana Iwasaka chipped in with 12. 

Mami Uchiseto and Mai Okumura finished with 11 and 10 markers for Japan, which last held the crown back in 2007.

Jin Ye was the lone Chinese player in double digits with 15 points.
China will take on Korea in the battle for third.

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