China volleyball side defeat Cuba in Macau
Women's volleyball series' Macau leg sees young side thrashed in just over an hour
China showed no mercy to a young Cuba side as they thrashed the Latin Americans in straight games on the second day of the Galaxy Entertainment Women's World Grand Prix volleyball series' Macau leg yesterday.
Led by promising spiker Zhu Ting, who hit a team-high 19 points, the mainlanders took the tie 25-13, 25-20, 25-15 in just over an hour at Macau Forum.
China will take on the Netherlands in their last match today after the latter suffered a surprising 3-1 defeat by Bulgaria. The Chinese look strong favourites for the crown in the former Portuguese enclave before moving to the Hong Kong leg this week.
Coach Lang Ping was happy the players had stuck to her game plan.
"We had two instructions for the players and both were accomplished satisfactorily," she said. "First was about receiving, which we showed improvement in from the first game against Bulgaria, although I would say there were still some ups and downs.
"The second was serving as only the two middle hitters did a good job in the first match. Today, it generally improved."
While Zhu, 19, continued to perform in front of the net, promising setter Yao Di was also given an opportunity against the Cubans.
"The young setter needs to work with some experienced players and today Yao did not let us down," Lang said.
"We also want to give other youngsters opportunities as we rebuild the team."
In the earlier match, debutants Bulgaria overcame a shaky start to beat the Netherlands 3-1 to score their first win in the grand prix.
The 2013 World Grand Prix has expanded from its previous 16-team format to feature 20 teams.
The Dutch took the first game 25-20, but then the 2007 overall champions lost momentum in the second, conceding the next three games 25-15, 25-20, 25-23.
Bulgaria captain Strashimira Filipova was again the toast of the team, high-scoring with 15 points, of which 14 came from the spike.
"We showed a good level of volleyball and fought together during the difficult moments," said the 1.95-metre middle blocker. "We deserved the victory as we played better today."
Her coach Marcello Abbondanza said the victory came as an important win, not only for this tournament and the series, but also for the future of the sport in his country.