Dubai: Surprise helped themselves to the volleyball crown with a well-deserved 3-1 win over Dubai 2020 at the ongoing Nad Al Sheba (NAS) Ramadan Sports Tournament.
Handicapped by the departure of their energetic Bahraini spiker Nasser Saleh Anan through injury midway through the third set, Dubai 2020 tried to cope with a superior Surprise attack led by the Cuban duo of Levya Martinez and Oreol Camejo. But they always knew it was a tough mountain to climb as Surprise ran away with the match and title, winning 3-1 (24-26, 29-27, 25-21, 25-20).
“It is always sad to have a fellow player out to injury. The Dubai 2020 got demoralised and their performance dipped a bit naturally while we stuck to our gameplan,” Surprise’s Cuban player Leyva Martinez told Gulf News.
“We knew it was always going to be tough for the other team to recover after losing their best player. We are obviously very happy with the win and for the president (Al Ahli and UAE national team football player Khamis Esmail) after we had ended in fourth place last year,” he added.
Saeed Hareb, General Secretary, Dubai Sports Council (DSC) was joined by Shaikh Salem Bin Sultan Al Qasimi, President of the UAE Fencing Association, Yousuf Al Mulla, President of the UAE Volleyball Association and Hassan Al Mazroei, Tournament Director, Nas Ramadan Sports Tournament, at the presentation of trophies and individual prizes after the final.
Dubai 2020 maintained an aggressive approach from the start and that helped them to take the opening set 26-24. They led 6-2 and then 9-4 in the second, but Martinez and Camejo came up with some handy points to draw level at 11-11 and lead at 13-12 for the first time to eventually win the second set 29-27.
In the third set, Dubai 2020 were trailing 14-16 when Anan crashed to the court while jumping for a spike and the medics rushed in to assist him. The Bahraini could not continue the match and that absence proved to be a tough thing for the Dubai 2020 side to cope with as Surprise won the third set 25-21 to lead 2-1.
The Dubai 2020 team tried to regroup around their second Bahraini player Mohammad Yaqoob, but the sting was evidently missing as Martinez and Camejo defended well at the net to help Surprise run away with the set, match and crown 25-20.
Earlier, Dubai 2021 rode on the serving prowess of German-based Cuban Salvador Hidalgo, and Elvi Santos, to defeat Al Hazem 3-1 and take the third spot. Hidalgo, later voted the best server, topped all scoring with 33 points, while Santos had 30 points even as Venelin Kadankov fought a lone battle for the losing side with 24 points.
Meanwhile, the Uncle Saeed Team eased into the team final to stay in line for a record fourth crown with an emphatic 2-0 win against the Shaikh Abdullah Al Maktoum Team. Sandy Farquharson and Jose Juan Matea Delgado tamed the Uncle Saeed Team with a 6-1, 6-1 win over Carlos Luna and Mohammad Al Janahi, while Javier Lopez Garcia and German Zunica Garcia defeated Xavier Masson and Benjamin Cassaigne 6-4, 6-1 to complete the win.
The Uncle Saeed Team will now await the winner of the second semi-final between Valencia and the SHM Team. The final will be played on June 14.
In the Open competition, Fermin Ferreyra and Guillermo Villafane topped Group B with a 6-3, 6-4 win to leave Javier Molina and Emilio Misas in second spot. Ferreyra and Villafane will take on Benjamin Cassaigne and Xavier Masson in the first semi-final, while reigning champions Farquharson and Lopez will clash with Molina and Misas in the second semi-final.
(Volleyball) Final: Surprise def. Dubai 2020 3-1 (24-26, 29-27, 25-21, 25-20); Third Place: Dubai 2021 def. Al Hazem 3-1 (17-25, 26-24, 25-21, 25-20).
Best Server: Salvador Hidalgo (Dubai 2021); Best Libero: Rashid Al Daheri (Dubai 2021); Best Spiker: Levya Martinez (Surprise); Best Player: Amer Ghulam (Dubai 2020); Best Foreign Player: Oreol Camejo (Surprise); Best Setter: Mohammad Sultan (Dubai 2020).
Open: Fermin Ferreyra/Guillermo Villafane x Javier Molina/Emilio Misas 6-3, 6-4.
UAE Nationals: Omar Sharif Al Marzouqi/Shaikh Saeed Bin Hasher Al Maktoum def. Khalid Al Attiyah/Hamdan Al Janahi 6-0, 6-0.
Teams semi-final: Uncle Saeed def. Shaikh Abdullah Al Maktoum Team 2-0 (Sandy Farquharson/Jose Juan Matea Delgado def. Carlos Luna/Mohammad Al Janahi 6-1, 6-1; Javier Lopez Garcia/German Zunica Garcia def. Xavier Masson/Benjamin Cassaigne 6-4, 6-1).