As has become tradition, Japan mounted a beautiful comeback to steal the win and the 2017 AVC Senior Women’s Championship gold from Thailand, 26-28, 20-25, 25-16, 25-16, 15-7, at the Alonte Sports Arena in Biñan, Laguna.
Looking like they were about to slay their demons with decisive wins in the first two sets, the Thais let another one slip against the Japanese.
Enforcing its defensive will, Japan stifled its foes in the third and fourth sets to force a decider. Then Japan completed its turnaround in splendid fashion, with Mami Uchiseto and Yurie Nabeya providing the big punches in the fifth set. Surging to an 11-5 lead, Japan never looked back and brought home the gold.
In the past two years, Japan has dealt Thailand heartbreaking losses in big competitions, including a controversial 2016 decision that cost Thailand an elusive Olympics ticket.
Japan’s all-around opposite hitter Risa Shinnabe tallied a game-high 19 points and was a splendid 18-for-32 on reception. Uchiseto finished with 18 points.
Wingers Kokram Pimpichaya, Kongyot Ajcharaporn, and Moksri Chachu-on each provided 17 points for Thailand.
In the bronze medal match, South Korea swept China 25-20, 25-16, 25-17.
The Vietnamese took fifth place over the Chinese Taipei, while Kazakhstan finished in seventh after trumping hosts Philippines.
Japan (3) – Shinnabe 19, Uchiseto 18, Iwasaka 13, Nabeya 11, Araki 9, Nomoto 8, Tominaga 6, Okuruma 2, Sato 1, Inoue (L)
Thailand (2) – Ajcharaporn 17, Chachu-on 17, Pimpichaya 17, Pleumjit 5, Hattaya 4, Wilavan 4, Nootsara 2, Pornpun 1, Wipawee 1, Piyanut (L)