Vinh Phuc, Vietnam, May 1, 2023 – Devastating Diamond Food Fine Chef-Air Force powered their way to the final showdown of the 2023 Asian Women’s Club Volleyball Championship at the Vinh Phuc Gymnasium here following their exceptional straight-set win against King Whale Taipei in the highly-anticipated semifinals on Monday.
Wipawee Srithong chipped in with 17 points including 15 attacks for Diamond Food, with Serbian Natasa Cikiriz and Kanjana Kuthaisong adding 16 and 8 points respectively. Wu Fang-Yu scored 15 attacking points on King Whale Taipei’s losing effort.
The thrilling 25-19, 25-19, 25-23 win carried the former consecutive two-time Thailand League winners to the showdown, which guaranteed them at least the silver medal, a step better than they made at the previous edition in Semey, Kazakhstan last year when they returned with well-earned third place and bronze medal. However, Diamond Food head coach Kittikun Sri-utthawong is upbeat that the gold medal could be within his team’s reach this time after they made it to the final showdown.
Diamond Food fielded a formidable lineup led by highly-skilled setter and captain Nootsara Tomkom and four Thailand national players – Sasipaporn Janthawisut, Wipawee Srithong, Tichakorn Boonlert and Kaewkalaya Kamulthala, all of them joined the Thailand’s VNL campaign in 2022. Moreover, the Thai team were also strengthen by the 193cm-tall Natasa Cikiriz from Serbia.
Spearheading King Whale Taipei were hard-attacking Wu Fang-Yu and two powerful hitters Lin Shu-Ho and Flavio De Carvalho Beatriz from Brazil. The Chinese Taipei side also welcomed back middle blocker Oliveira Fabiano Gabriela, who sustained her right ankle in the previous match against Japan’s Hisamitsu Springs on April 27, but she was fit physically on Monday and joined the team in the match against the Thai side.
In the opening set, King Whale Taipei made a solid start to narrowly lead 4-2 before Diamond Food fought back aggressively, with powerful Wipawee methodically tearing the rivals’ defence into shreds with her fierce spikes. Leading 16-12, the Thai side lost their touch and became more prone to unforced mistakes and poor reception, allowing King Whale Taipei many attacking opportunities including four back-to-back points, thanks to Wu Fang-Yu’s lightning-fast attacks from the back row.
Diamond Food replaced Sasipaporn with Kanjana Kuthaisong and the intention paid off its dividend when the Thai team started to produce…
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