Indonesian volleyball team Bank Sumsel Babel reached the quarterfinals of the 2011 Asian Men’s Club Volleyball Championship despite losing to heavy favorite Osaka Blazer Sakai of Japan on Wednesday at Sriwijaya Sports Hall in Palembang, South Sumatra.
Bank Sumsel Babel, collecting eight points, gained fourth place in Pool A with Tang Dynasty of China claiming the top spot with 10 points. Osaka Blazer Sakai of Japan finished in second with nine points and PTCS of Vietnam finished third also with nine points.
In Pool B, defending champion Paykan Tehran of Iran led the group with 15 points ahead of Almaty of Kazakhstan with nine points, Al-Rayyan of Qatar in third place with eight points and Chang of Thailand in fourth with seven points.
The top two teams from both pools will progress to the semifinal round.
In the quarterfinals, Bank Sumsel Babel will face Paykan, Chang will meet Osaka Blazer,
Tang Dynasty will go against Al-Rayyan and Almaty will face PTSC Vietnam.
Indonesian coach Dadang Sudrajat said he hoped his team would perform better against the powerhouse Paykan Tehran squad.
“We still have time to fix the boys’ blocks and passing. The squad wanted to play a little faster to balance the Osaka Blazer Sakai’s play. Unfortunately, we rushed it too much,” he said after the match.
Indonesian team manager Paulus Wartelpau admitted that the squad had not performed as well as expected. Participating in the event, however, was important experience for the team in preparing for the 26th Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games) in Palembang in November.
“The team had so little time to train for this event. We will learn a lot of things from the tournament and will do our best not to repeat the same mistakes in the Games,” he said.
Osaka Blazer coach Sakai Shingo applauded Bank Sumsel Babel’s effort against his team. Nevertheless, the Japanese squad outclassed the Indonesian.
“We had a great spirit during the game. That was because we didn’t want to redo our flaws when facing the Vietnamese team,” Shingo said.