There were no surprises as the defending champion Sir Sicoma Perugia prevailed over debutant Halkbank Spor Kulubu 25-14, 25-16, 31-29 to enter the final of the FIVB Men’s Volleyball Club World Championships at the Koramangala Indoor Stadium here on Saturday.
The Italian giant will face Brazil’s Itambe Minas in the summit clash on Sunday. Minas edged Japan’s Suntory Sunbirds 22-25, 25-22, 28-30, 25-20, 17-15 in the second semifinal.
Sicoma started with Oleh Plotnytskyi’s solid retrieve from the backline that highlighted its resolve in the semifinal, and Jesus Herrera Jaime’s ace soon followed.
The Turkish side, Halkbank Spor Kulubu, with veterans Nimir Abdel-Aziz and Earvin Ngapeth on its side failed to cause enough trouble for Sicoma, which clinched the set 25-14 with ease.
In the second set, a drop shot from the Halkbank captain Abdel-Aziz set the tone but it was deceptive play by Jamie and Simone Giannelli that shifted control back to the Italian outfit. Adding to Halkbank’s woes, Tim Held, a substitute, delivered an ace, with Sicoma eventually sealing the set with a 16-25 scoreline.
Ngapeth had changed his bright blue skins to white in the third set as the crowd cheered for the underdog, which levelled Sicoma. Halkbank’s defence faltered for a while before picking up the pace for a 20-18 lead.
With the crowd on its feet, Halkbank held ground before a Kamil Semeniuk spike aimed at the vacant spot shattered its hopes.
Minas pip Sunbirds
The other semifinal saw the Sunbirds and Minas start on an exciting note, to loud cheers from the crowd. The noise amplified for Sunbirds with former Olympic champion Dmitriy Muserskiy’s fierce spikes.
While Minas appeared energetic early on, it could not seal the set, with Isac Santos’ fall also being a cause of concern for the Brazilian outfit.
Michael Sanchez Bozhuleva and Paulo Vinicios showcased power and precision for it but Masaki Oya’s dump saw the Sunbirds take a 20-19 lead, eventually winning the set 25-22.
Minas made a comeback in the next set, winning by the same score, this time in its favour.
Sunbirds’ Masaki and Fujinaka Soshi hyped the fans with gestures between points of the third set and looked rejuvenated when their side saved two set points to equalise 24-24. The Minas tied to get an edge in the tiring set but the Sunbirds kept at it, winning the tiring set 30-28.
Minas’s unrelenting energy, along with Sunbirds’ costly mistakes, forced the match to a deciding fifth set. Despite the Sunbirds saving four points, it were Minas who had the last laugh, with a 17-15 win.
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