Vietnam routs young South Korean in three sets

VIETNAM less team captain Tran Thi Thanh Thuy defeats South Korea in straight sets. — ASIAN VOLLEYBALL CONFEDERATION

Games Today(PhilSports Arena)1 p.m. — Japan vs Australia4 p.m. — China vs Iran7 p.m. — South Korea vs Philippines

VIETNAM rested team captain Tran Thi Thanh Thuy but still routed a young and inexperienced South Korea, 25-13, 25-13, 25-16, yesterday to seize the momentary Pool A lead in the Asian Volleyball Confederation Cup at the PhilSports Arena.

Minus Tran, nicknamed 4T but popularly called T4 by Filipino fans, the Vietnamese went to Nguyen Thi Uyen, who paced all hitters with 13 points including a couple of kill blocks that sealed the win.

The Hanoi Southeast Asian Games silver medalist finished with a 3-1 record but had 10 points, a point ahead of mighty China, which is unbeaten in three starts but has only eight points.

The Great Wall of China though could retake the top seeding with a win over Iran today.

The Vietnamese have been playing impressively despite entering the 11-day tournament as wild cards following straight set victories over the host Filipinas and the Iranians.

Vietnam also came close to shocking China before ending up dropping a five-set defeat.

The Vietnamese enter the quarterfinals oozing with confidence, knowing they have a legitimate chance of surpassing, if not replicating, their fourth-place performance in Almaty, Kazakhstan exactly a decade ago.

The Koreans, composed of high school players of mostly 15 to 16 years old, sputtered to their third straight defeat.

But they have a chance to fight for a spot to the quarters in a do-or-die duel with the Philippines at 7 p.m. tonight.

“Our goal for tomorrow (today) is to at least to win against the Philippine team,” said South Korea skipper Hwang Jimin through an interpreter. — Joey Villar