Abu Dhabi: NMC Health Care defeated Only Fresh Dubai in a thrilling five-setter 3-2 (25-21, 25-19, 23-25, 21-25, 15-9) to clinch the 22nd Jimmy George Memorial Ramadan International Volleyball Tournament at the Emirates Heritage Club, Al Wahda.
NMC were richer by Dh20,000 and bagged the UAE Exchange Rolling Trophy. Runner-up Only Fresh Dubai claimed a purse of Dh15,000 and was awarded with the Ayoob Master Memorial Trophy.
UAE Exchange Chairman BR Shetty gave away the awards.
NMC had made it to the finals, beating Bin Subaih 4-1 while Only Fresh Dubai registered a clean sweep 3-0 win over Khan Club.
In the final, it looked as if NMC, comprising nine Iranian players, would run away with the title after pocketing the first two sets. However, Only Fresh Dubai players, that included one of the leading spiker from India — Anup D’Costa, bounced back in the third and must win set.
Once Only Fresh Dubai won that tooth-and-nail battle by a mere two points, they were clearly high on morale going into the fourth set. Slamming some crucial points aggressively, Only Fresh Dubai forced the contest into the deciding fifth set.
NMC held their nerves and once they took a 4-0 lead, Only Fresh Dubai were always struggling to make ground. The former comfortably prevailed at 15-9 to clinch their fourth title in the tournament.
They had last claimed the top honours in 2015.
“It was a thrilling contest and very keenly contested one. Once you lose two sets in a row going into the final set then it’s always difficult. But all credit to my boys as they kept their cool. Those four-point early lead in the final set was crucial. Once we got the edge, the opposition were always struggling,” said NMC coach Mohammed Joshi, who has been with the side for over a decade.
Hussian Al Raza of NMC walked away with the Best Player Award for his individual brilliance. NMC’s Michal was adjudged as the Best Universal Player while Amir Hussain bagged the Best Setter’s award.
Other award winners were: Best Attacker: Ainan Khan (Bin Subaih); Best Offender: Ashwal Rai (Only Fresh); Best Libero: Raeez (Bin Subaih); Best Promising Player: Suhail (Khan Club).