Japan dethrones China, Thailand downs Korea to seal title clash in Asian volley meet
Thailand celebrates while Korea contests in a tale of contrasting sides in the clash of two Asian powerhouse teams. Jaime Campos

BINAN, Laguna — After two editions, Thailand and Japan will once again clash for thecrown after they disposed respective semifinal foes in the 19th AVC Asian Women’s Senior Championship on Wednesday at Alonte Sports Arena here.

The two Asian heavyweights last met each other in the finals in 2013 with the Thais winning the title.

Thailand turned back Korea, 25-20, 25-20, 25-21, behind the heroics of Ajcharaporn Kongyot and Thai phenom Chatchu-on Moksri.

Kongyot finished with 17 points for Thailand, while 17-year old Moksri added 16 markers and Pimpichaya Kokram scored 11.

"Actually we never expected to win like this (straight sets) but we just played our game," said Thailand playmaker Nootsara Tomkom, the three-time tournament best setter.

Tomkom tossed 42 of the team's 46 excellent sets to choreograph a well-balanced attack for the Thais, who had a total of 50 attack points compared to 35 of the Koreans.

Thailand is looking to bounce back from a bronze medal finish in the 2015 edition.

Team captain Kim Yeon Koung was the lone bright spot for Korea with 21 points.

Meanwhile, Japan only needed three sets to dethrone China, 25-17, 25-18, 25-18, and remained unscathed in six games dating back to the pool stage.

Shinnabe Rosa and Nomoto Rika registered 13 points for the Japanese, who last copped the title in 2007.

Skipper Iwasaka Nana also had 12, Uchiseto Mami tallied 11 and Okumura Mai had 10 for Japan, which finished sixth in the 2015 edition.

Jin Ye finished with 15 points for China, which was relegated to the battle for third against Korea.

It will be the second face-off between Thailand and Japan after the latter toppled Thailand, 22-25, 25-20, 25-22, 26-24, to top Pool F in the quarterfinals classification.  

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