Suntory Sunbirds (Japan) and Jakarta Bayangkara Fresh (Indonesia) have been crowned champions and runners-up respectively at the 2023 Asia Men’s Club Volleyball Championship after defending champions Korean Air.
Sunburst won the title with a 3-1 (28-26 25-23 23-25 25-17) victory over Bayankara in the tournament final at the ISA Sports City Arena in Manama, Bahrain, on Nov. 22 (local time).
Suntory main man Dmitry MUSHALSKY 메이저놀이터 (RUS) led the way with 31 points. Cuban Alain chipped in with 26 points. For Bayankara, Manavinejad (Iran) scored 22 points and Dowdy Okello (Uganda) 21, but it wasn’t enough to prevent defeat.
Santori, who were runners-up in 2021 and last year, took the title this time. They are the first Japanese club to win the tournament. As a result, Suntory will represent Asia at the 2023 International Volleyball Federation Men’s Volleyball Club World Championship in India later this year.
“Through this tournament, we realized that the level of volleyball in Asia is high,” Suntory head coach Kona Yamamura told the Asian Volleyball Federation. “We are happy to qualify for the Club World Championship. We are looking forward to representing Asia.”
Both Suntory and Bayankara, who face each other in the final, have defeated Korean Air in the tournament. Suntory defeated Korean Air in the quarterfinals and Bayankara defeated Korean Air in the group stage.
Muschalski, who made waves by ranking Korean Air at the bottom of the Japanese volleyball league, was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player.
Libero honors went to Bayankara’s Raka Abinaya (Indonesia), Setter honors went to Suntory’s Masaki Oya (Japan), Middle Blocker honors went to Qatar Police Sports Team’s Beral Nabel Abunabot (Qatar) and Bayankara’s Hendra Kurniawan (Indonesia), Outside Hitter honors went to Shahdavu Yazd’s Amir Ghafoor (Iran), and Outside Hitter honors went to Suntory’s Alain and Bayankara’s Manabinejad.