Plucky Thais battle back from two sets down against Japan to earn shot at China in final
By reaching the finals, the Thais earned a place alongside in the World Under-23 championships slated in Turkey in August. Freddie Dionisio

THAILAND battled back from two sets down to beat Japan, 21-25, 23-25, 25-21, 25-20, 15-13, and earn the right to face China in the finals of the 2015 Asian Under-23 Women’s Volleyball Championship.

Ajcharaporn Kongyot came with 25 points while Chatchu-on Moksri added 19 for the plucky Thais in an exciting match that took two hours and 14 minutes to finish at the Philsports Arena on Friday night.

Hattaya Bamrungsuk chipped in 12 and Pimpichaya Kokram and Jarasporn Bundasak contributed 11 markers apiece for Thailand, which, by reaching the final, gained a spot alongside defending champion China in the World Under-23 Women’s Championship in August 12-19 in Turkey.

“We are happy to win today,” said Thailand skipper Pornpun Guedpard through an interpreter. “In the first two sets we are slow and make mistakes, thankfully we came back in the next three sets and win the match.” 

The Japanese gave away 38 extra points to the Thais with their errors.

Down by one, 11-12, in the deciding set, Thailand went on a 3-0 spurt sparked by a Kongyot spike from a combination attack to reach match point, 14-12.

An untimely overreach error by the Thais allowed the Japanese to pull within 13-14, but a power hit by Kongyot sealed the victory.

Thailand coach Nataphon Srisamutnak said the Thais will try to have fun when they play against China in their gold medal match on Saturday at 4;30 p.m.

“No pressure tomorrow, we will just have fun,” said Srisamutnak through an interpreter.

Arisa Inoue finished with 24 points while Nanaka Sakamoto had 16 for the Japanese, who will face Korea in the battle for third place preceding the final.

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