Tag Archives: volleyball

2016 AVC Cup for Women: Analyzing the Thais

Was only able to catch the live stream from the 3rd set onwards of the Sep 19 semifinal match between Thailand and China in the 2016 AVC Cup for Women currently played in Vietnam (14 Sep to 20 Sep). And the game ended with the Chinese beating the Thais.

Well, looking at how the Thais started the tournament — that is struggling in a 5-set victory over the Taiwanese on their opening match — it’s not really surprising that they would lose against the Chinese in the semifinals. Indeed, t’was sort of a premonition. The Thais just got off the wrong side of the bed.

China came back to win a thrilling match, 3-2
China came back to win a thrilling match against Thailand, 3-2

See? In this match against the Chinese, they were even leading 2 sets to 1, but only to allow a Chinese comeback. How did this happen?

One. Thailand’s coach just kept shuffling his girls. While it’s good to rest the players and disrupt their opponent, constant shuffling prevented better and ‘long-term’ team cohesion. Besides, the strengths and weaknesses of the girls on the floor were not balanced.

#20 Soraya. Good setter but should have played lesser than #3 Pornpun
#20 Soraya. Good setter but should have played lesser

Two. T’was #20 Soraya who was used more rather than #3 Pornpun, their current team’s best setter. So what happened? There were times, especially during critical moments that the balls were late — more so, the setting angles were not to the strengths of the spiker. Hmm…

THAI’S BEST SIX

For this team that the Thais brought to Vietnam..

#3 Pornpun. Key Skill: Setting.
#3 Pornpun. Key Skill: Setting

#3 Pornpun. Key Skill: Setting. Secondary Skill: Receiving. With her on the floor, the ‘attacking engine’ of the Thais are in place. Take her out, they could lose to a good opponent.

#5 Pleumjit. Key Skill: Fast Attack
#5 Pleumjit. Key Skill: Fast Attack

#5 Pleumjit. Key Skill: Fast Attack. Secondary Skill: Blocking. Against taller and stronger opponents like the Chinese, Americans, Europeans and Latinas — Pleumjit’s quick plays would be less effective. However, her primary skill is reliant on a good setter; thus, if the timing and angles are well placed, she’s an indispensable weapon to have.

#18 Ajcharaporn. Key Skill: Power Spike. Secondary Skill: Fast Attack. Kongyot is probably the best power spiker in Thailand today. With her athleticism, she’s just wonderful to watch doing a back row attack — only few has that kind of power. So just imagine her side attacks as well.

#18 Ajcharaporn. Key Skill: Power Spike
#18 Ajcharaporn. Key Skill: Power Spike

Being athletic, she should vary her attacks and try ‘quick plays’ every now and then to confuse opponents.

#4 Thatdao. Key Skill: Blocking. Secondary Skill: Power Spike. Though Thatdao is known to be a power spiker, only few must have noticed that her better skill would be ‘blocking’. She’s tall and strong enough to handle opposing howitzers from the net.

#4 Thadtao. Key Skill: Blocking
#4 Thatdao. Key Skill: Blocking

#2 Piyanut. Key Skill: Receiving. Secondary Skill: Setting. Small as she is, she’s got enough strength and good reflexes to catch those bombs thrown by opposing spikers. Invaluable against teams with heavy attackers. Plus there’s a bonus — with Piyanut on the floor, the Thais got another setter in case the ball gets too far from #3 Pornpun.

#2 Piyanut. Key Skill: Receiving
#2 Piyanut. Key Skill: Receiving

SIXTH SPOT. This may come as a surprise but it would be #12 Pimpichaya — instead of either veterans #10 Wilavan or #15 Malika. Yes, both are experienced power spikers (that’s their primary skill) but their game seems to have deteriorated. Wilavan got weaker, yeah, her leaps and spikes; while Malika has become kinda erratic. Lately, her attacks just seem to end up outside the court, or off the mark. Are they just getting older? For power hitters, perhaps.

#10 Wilavan gets it through in this one
#10 Wilavan gets it through in this one

#12 Pimpichaya is younger, quicker and more athletic than either Wilavan and Malika.. So? She just needs to develop judgment which, in this case, only experience could give.

In the end, the 2-3 loss of Thailand against China in this semifinals was really due to the constant shuffling of players.

2016 Volleyball Asian Women’s Club: Japan Wins the Tourney

As we predicted, Japan’s NEC Red Rockets would win over Ba’yi Shenzhen of China — but at 3-0!? Yeah, tho we favored Japan to win, surprisingly China was just clobbered in the game.

Okay, the scores may be close (25-23, 25-19, 25-21) but NEC was really in control the whole time — save for the 3rd set when China raced to a 7 point lead at the start; but which Japan caught up.

NEC Red Rockets blasted their way to the title
NEC Red Rockets blasted their way to the title

In this title match, Ba’yi Shenzhen was not really able to utilize their height as the Red Rockets just often found the seams to the floor in their attacks. However, while a YouTube commentator said ‘t’is not about power but finding the floor’; we say, this is only true if you have the speed and good floor defense for return plays — like Japan!

0911-japan-china-game-summary

Still, in the end, you’d need some sort of ‘power’ or strength to score as well. Can’t be all defense. Otherwise, you only delayed your loss.

And unfortunately, China didn’t have that defense, too. There was just a gaping hole at the back while their spikers — #5 Liu lacks focus and #1 Wang lacks mobility, she is just a bit stiff. Japan, meanwhile had a small but fiery spiker in #15 Yanagita; a sneaky attacker in #6 Oumi; and a stabilizing force in #2 Koga. So, the championship!

BATTLE FOR THIRD

In the earlier match, Bangkok Glass rallied from 2 sets down to beat Altay Oskemen of Kazakhstan, 3-2 and take third place.

0911-thai

During the game, the Thais were kinda like sluggish in the first 2 sets as they fell behind, 0-2 to the Kazakhs. Demoralized in yesterday’s semifinal match? Perhaps. Told ya’, that semifinal against Japan was really the title match of the tournament.

Anyway, the turning point of the game was when #10 Jutarat was replaced with #1 Maliwan as she combined with #5 Pleumjit (who isn’t really a high leaper nor a powerful attacker but is especially good in quick plays) and #16 Frazier to rampage into Third Place.

What’s next? The 2016 Women’s Club World Championships in Manila from October 18 to 23. Must be exciting! Till then!

2016 Volleyball Asian Women’s Club: Finals Prediction

As expected, Japan against Thailand was a humdinger of a match — at least until Japan forced a 5th set — as the 4 sets took an average of 25 minutes per set to complete. But then from the 5th set onwards, it was all NEC Red Rockets who surprisingly dominated Bangkok Glass, 15-7.

One. Were the Thais just tired of playing volleyball, or were they overconfident? ‘Cause they looked lackadaisical in the final set, and by the time they realized their predicament, t’was just too late.

Two. Did the benching of their import Ashley Frazier prove to be the turning point? Well, we understand if Thailand’s coach wanted more familiarity when he replaced the American. Then again, if there’s one player and only one who should be replaced — we believe it should have been #10 Jutarat.

The Thais just got lost from late in the 4th set onwards
The Thais just got lost from late in the 4th set onwards

In this tournament really, Jutarat was Thailand’s weak link — second though was Ashley Frazier. Hey, these two either got their attacks blocked,  reception ‘offline’ or served way off! The Thais could have used more of #3 Sutadta and #1 Maliwan instead.

Anyway, as in our previous article on the 2016 AVC, whoever wins this match would most likely go on to win the championship as their expected Finals opponent Ba’yi Shenzhen of China has shown much vulnerability. Yeah, even in their semifinal match against Kazakhstan whom they beat 3-1, it actually took an average of about 26 minutes per set to get things done. See?

China had their troubles against Kazakhstan
China had their troubles against Kazakhstan

And save for the second and third sets when each team took turns in thumping each other — the score was pretty close especially in set number 4 when China finally won, 25-23..

As for the Kazakhs, while they took a set against China; they actually never got one against Japan in their September 5 meeting when the NEC Red Rockets won 3-nil.. 25-16, 25-17, 25-19.

If they could show the same intensity, it's gonna be a Red Rocket Day
If they could show the same intensity, it’s gonna be a Red Rocket Day in the Finals

So just imagine the Finals tomorrow (yes, based on their Kazakhstan matches alone, Japan should be favored). It’s basically China’s height against Japan’s speed. While NEC beat Altay’s height, Ba’yi is more skilled. Thus it should be a pretty close match with NEC prevailing if they could show the same focus and intensity as they did against Bangkok Glass when they trailed 1 set to 2 — then showed great defense to win in great fashion!

As for Ba’yi.. It’s just all about ‘consistency’.

2016 Volleyball Asian Women’s Club (Laguna, Philippines)

Do you like volleyball? Well, it may not be as popular as basketball especially in the Philippines but it is certainly gaining ground the world over — including here — as the 2016 Volleyball Asian Women’s Club is currently held at Laguna’s Alonte Sports Arena.

The tournament actually began last September 3 with teams from 12 different countries battling for supremacy. The participating teams may not be their country’s national team as these are just representatives (with just sprinklings of national players so to say) from their commercial leagues but just the same — it’s pretty competitive and fun to watch.

Thailand's Bangkok Glass
Thailand’s Bangkok Glass (Nat’l Team World Ranking: 14)

Anyway, the elimination games has just ended and the Quarterfinals is about to begin this Friday, 9 September — with the Finals to be concluded on Sunday, 11 September.

QUARTERFINAL MATCHUP (Friday, 9 September)

JAPAN NEC Red Rockets v TAIWAN T. Grand
THAILAND Bangkok Glass v VIETNAM Lien Viet Post Bank
CHINA Bayi Shenzhen v PHILIPPINES Foton Pilipinas
KAZAKHSTAN Altay Oskemen v IRAN Sarmayeh Bank

OUR PREDICTIONS 

While Japan and Thailand could easily beat their opponents — the match between China and the Philippines could be a toss-up. Really. However, Foton needs to play their best volleyball to pull this one through. Yes, China maybe number 1 in the world but the lineup for Bayi Shenzhen is pretty vulnerable with their inconsistency, and that could give the Filipinas a ray of hope.

Japan's NEC Red Rockets
Japan’s NEC Red Rockets (Nat’l Team World Ranking: 6)

However, the match to really look forward to would be the potential Semifinal meeting between Japan and Thailand this Saturday, 10 September. This we would say should have been the Finals matchup — since whoever wins between Japan and Thailand would most likely beat China’s inconsistency, unless..

FOOTNOTE

For local fans wishing for players like Alyssa Valdez and Kim Fajardo among others to have played — and citing ‘palakasan’ (favoritism) as the culprit. You ‘may’ have a point because for one, why was Aby Maraño of F2 Logistics allowed to play for Foton anyway? Hmm… Just something we don’t know.

Foton Pilipinas
Foton Pilipinas (Nat’l Team World Ranking: 79)

Still, whether it’s F2 Logistics who represented the country or, Foton included Valdez and Fajardo would not really make much difference. The Philippines is still not on that level yet. Yes, this is just something fans should accept — and the volleyball organization to improve on as well. This means not just joining more competitions but enhancing the volleybelles training — strength and speed.

To really move forward — remember the purpose.