The Philippines will try to formalize its entry to the quarterfinals when it battles Iraq today in the 2014 Asian Men’s Volleyball Club Championship at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
The Philippines-Iraq match is scheduled at 12 noon.
The Power Pinoys scored a straight-set victory over Mongolia, 25-13, 25-23, 25-16, for a 1-0 card in Pool A.
Australian import Cedric Legrand is expected to carry the scoring cudgels for the Philippines along with power–hitting Alnakran Abdilla. Legrand and Abdilla combined for 30 points in the opening game of the Filipinos.
Meanwhile, reigning champion Matin Varamin of Iran made its presence felt as it smothered Otia Miyoshi Weisse Adler of Japan, 25-18, 21-25, 25-13, 25-22.
Fresh from a long holiday, the Iranians were impressive on the defensive end, keeping the Japanese attackers in check all game long to claim their first win in Pool B.
National team mainstay Mou–savi Seyed had a stellar performance as he finished with 11 of his 13 points on kills while Tajer Mikael and Sharifat Mostafa provided the defensive muscle, punching three blocks apiece to underscore the Iranians’ suffocating net defense.
The taller, more aggressive Iranians nailed a total of 12 blocks in their debut.
But Iran’s coach, Daniele Bagnoli of Italy, thinks his wards still have something more to show.
“We just came from a long holiday and we’re not yet in the best condition,” said Bagnoli, adding that the team was formed just last week while some team members joined them four days ago.
“But we will try to do our best to regain our form as the tournament goes by. The ultimate goal is to win this tournament. The next few days will be very difficult so we have to be ready.”
Matin Varamin, which won the Iranian Volleyball Super League early this year, played a flawless game in the opening set, prompting the Japanese to make some minor adjustments in their attacks.
Things, however, turned ugly in the second set as Japan — behind the powerful smashes of Egyptian import Khattab Mohamed — caught fire while taking advantage of the Iranians’ poor reception and a string of service errors.