THANACHA Sooksod nailed the game-winning attack as Diamond Food escaped Nakhon Ratchasima’s late fourth-set rally, 25-16, 16-25, 25-15, 29-27, to bag its first victory in the Volleyball Thailand League’s Final Four round on Friday at the Nimibutr Stadium in Bangkok.
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Mylene Paat sparked Nakhon Ratchasima late in the fourth set to keep Diamond Food within striking distance, tying the frame at 27 with her clutch kill.
However, Paat’s teammate Prapatsorn Kongudom, who was a revelation from the bench substituting for Dindin Santiago-Manabat, committed a crucial service error that brought back Diamond Food at match point, 28-27, before Sooksod delivered the match-clinching spike to escape in the one-hour-and-55-minute battle.
Brazilian import Fernanda Tome unleashed 15 points to lead Diamond Food to its first win in the semis round, joining unbeaten Supreme Chonburi on top after the latter beat Khonkaen Star, 25-14, 25-18, 25-20, earlier.
Sooksod delivered 14 points. Cuban Leanny Castaneda scattered eight attacks, three blocks and an ace to finish with 12 markers, while Kanjana Kuthaisong added 11.
Thai star setter Nootsara Tomkom provided the brilliant plays for Diamond Food to earn their third straight win over her former club, Nakhon Ratchasima this season.
Paat and Patcharaporn Sittisad led the Cat Devil with 14 points each. Kongudom chipped in 13 markers off the bench, while Chitaporn Kamlangmak scored 10.
Manabat only started in the opening set and played as substitute in the remainder of the match, scoring only three from the first two frames.
Nakhon Ratchasima battles the unscathed Supreme Chonburi on Saturday at 2:45 pm (Philippine time) and Khonkaen Star on Sunday.
The top team of the Final Four round robin will take on the No. 4 seed, while the second placer faces the third seed in separate knockout semifinal games next week.