Six teams took part in the biennial event which was held from August 22 to 27. The participating teams comprised defending champions Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, Myanmar, Yangon (Myanmar B) and New Zealand, believed this was the first New Zealand team to travel to Myanmar since the lifting of UN sanctions on that country.
Teams were pitted against one another in the single round-robin competition, with top two teams setting up a final clash and the respective two sides battling it out in the third-place play-off.
Myanmar, powered by terrific Aung Thu, made a clean sweep in the five-match preliminary round including a stunning 3-0 (25-18 26-24 25-21) win over hot-favourites Thailand.
In that thriller against the Thais, the 19-year-old, 190cm-tall Aung Thu became a smashing machine of Myanmar, producing exceptional form which always dazzled the rivals. He scored 35 points throughout the match including 29 spectacular spikes added by four stuff blocks and two ace serves.
At the end of the preliminary round, hosts Myanmar topped the standing with 15 points from all five wins. Thailand came in second place with 12 points from four wins against one disappointing loss to Myanmar. Indonesia finished third with nine points from three wins against two losses, with Vietnam in fourth position with five points from two wins against three losses.
New Zealand beat Yangon in a closely-contested match which ended 3-2 in favour of the Kiwis, who eventually returned with the fifth place with only two points from one win against four losses. Yangon or Myanmar B team lost all five matches to finish sixth place overall. The team claimed two points from playing 2-3 in two matches against New Zealand and Vietnam.
On August 27, the final day of the six-day meet, Indonesia and Vietnam fought it out in the third-place play-off. Despite putting up a brave challenge, the Vietnamese still proved the Indonesians too strong to go down in straight sets 25-21 25-22 25-15, which resulted in the Indonesia’s third-place finish in this championship and Vietnam fourth.
The showdown was a rematch between Thailand and Myanmar. The Thais fought hard with an high hope of regaining the pride lost in the first round to the fast-improving hosts. The Thais’ determined efforts did not live up to their expectation when they still faced the similar humiliating fate, overwhelmed by relentless fierce attacking from Aung Thu. Myanmar spent 73 minutes in annihilating the title-holders in straight sets 25-19 25-19 25-20 to capture the 17th SEA Men’s Junior title.
Aung Thu, who emerged as the everyday’s top scorer, bagged 26 points for Myanmar including 22 devastating spikes in the clash against Thailand. With such a brilliant form, Aung Thu landed three individual awards consisting of the Best Spiker, the Top Scorer and the Most Valuable Player.
Aung Thu has also joined Myanmar to compete in the third AVC Asian Cup for Men, which is due to take place in Vinh Phuc, Vietnam from September 1 to 7.
August 22: New Zealand b Yangon (Myanmar B) 3-2 (25-20 25-23 18-25 21-25 15-13); Myanmar b Indonesia 3-1 (20-25 25-11 25-16 25-22); Thailand b Vietnam 3-0 (25-17 25-22 25-18)
August 23: Myanmar b New Zealand 3-0 (25-16 25-20 25-22); Thailand b Yangon (Myanmar B) 3-0 (25-18 25-17 25-22); Indonesia b Vietnam 3-1 (25-15 25-16 22-25 25-16)
August 24: Thailand b New Zealand 3-0 (25-18 25-21 25-15); Myanmar b Vietnam 3-0 (25-13 28-26 25-13); Indonesia b Yangon (Myanmar B) 3-0 (25-15 25-18 25-13)
August 25: Myanmar b Thailand 3-0 (25-18 26-24 25-21); Indonesia b New Zealand 3-0 (25-23 25-17 25-12); Vietnam b Yangon (Myanmar B) 3-2 (25-10 25-18 23-25 18-25 15-12)
August 26: Thailand b Indonesia 3-0 (29-27 25-22 25-20); Myanmar b Yangon (Myanmar B) 3-0 (25-12 32-30-32 25-17); Vietnam b New Zealand 3-1 (18-25 25-16 25-17 25-15)
Third place: Indonesia b Vietnam 3-0 (25-21 25-22 25-15)
Championship match: Myanmar b Thailand 3-0 (25-19 25-19 25-20)
5. New Zealand
6. Yangon (Myanmar B)
Best Scorer: Aung Thu (Myanmar)
Best Spiker: Aung Thu (Myanmar)
Best Blocker: Aung Yan Lin (Myanmar)
Best Server: Kitsada Chanchai (Thailand)
Best Setter: Munawar Nizar Julfikar (Indonesia)
Best Receiver: Thammaphat Katjam (Thailand)
Best Libero: Aung Nay Lin (Myanmar)
MVP: Aung Thu (Myanmar)