China shook off gallant Thailand stand in five thrilling sets, 19-25, 25-20, 25-14, 23-25, 15-10, to move into yet another shot at the title of the 2022 PNVF AVC Cup for Women, Sunday evening at the PhilSports Arena in Pasig City.
With the game still hanging in the balance, outside hitter Wu Mengjie fired three straight points in the fifth for a 10-5 advantage for China. From there, the defending champions sealed the deal with another Wu cross-court kill.
Wu ended up leading the charge for the four-peat-seeking side with 29 points on 27 attacks and two blocks, while fellow outside hitter Zhuang Yushan added 17 markers on 16 kills and one block.
Picking up from where they left off against the Philippines, Thailand powered through the opening set with good passing turning into kills in transition. Setter Pornpun Geudpard also found a way around China’s block for the first-set win.
The setback, though, was no big deal as Chinese head coach Kuang Qi shared that the squad used its slow start to study how Thailand plays.
He said, “We just want to try our best. In the beginning, we just tried to learn from Thailand because they are a strong team and they did a good job on the court. We are happy with the result of this match.”
China took matters into its own hands in the following two sets, starting with service that disrupted the usual solid Thailand passing. This prevented Geudpard from taking her usual points of attack, making it easier for the reigning championships to control the rally at the net.
Thailand adjusted its defensive patterns in the fourth to eventually gather up its offensive system. Errors, moreover, compounded China’s woes as Chachuon Moksri et al. carried the fight into a deciding fifth set.
Zhou Yetong provided the points for China when needed, finishing with 17 markers as well, all of which came from attacks. Hu Mingyuan added seven points on six spikes and one block.
Moksri topped Thailand with 21 points on 19 spikes and two blocks, while Pimpichaya Kokram found her rhythm late with 12 points, all of which came from the third to fifth sets.
The titleholder China will stake its crown against the winner of the semifinal between Japan and Vietnam on Monday at 7 p.m., while Thailand will battle the losing squad of the said match for the bronze earlier at 4 p.m.
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