international volleyball

Japan volleyball star trio remains gracious, focused after 5-set VNL loss to Canada

JR Isaga

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Japan volleyball star trio remains gracious, focused after 5-set VNL loss to Canada

REGROUP. Japan men's volleyball team players like Ran Takahashi (12) and Yuki Ishikawa (14) in action at the 2024 Men's VNL


Japan men's volleyball shining trio of Yuki Ishikawa, Ran Takahashi, and Yuji Nishida all focus on improvement after dropping their first VNL game in front of ever-supportive Manila fans

MANILA, Philippines – Earsplitting cheers turned to muted, respectful claps at the Mall of Asia Arena as underdog Canada denied favored Japan in a five-set marathon to cap off day one of the 2024 Men’s Volleyball Nations League (VNL) Manila leg near midnight on Tuesday, June 18.

Samuel Maar led the win-needy Canadians with 24 points as they boosted their playoff bid with a 5-4 record, while Japan – advantaged both in world rankings and Filipino crowd support – fell to 6-3.

Despite the tide turning against the popular and powerful Japanese in their return to Manila, team captain Yuki Ishikawa was quick to file away the defeat as another bump in the road.

“Today, we were not playing well, especially our reception, and Canada was playing well. So, today was a tough match,” Ishikawa said after a team-high 19-point performance.

Fiery star opposite Yuji Nishida essentially echoed his captain’s statement, crediting the timely Canadian net defense that spelled the major difference in the deciding set.

“They’re so high-level. Respect. Major respect to the opponent tonight,” he said after posting his own 19-point outing.

“I’m looking for more combinations and try not to make more mistakes and a little bit more [improvement] on the communication. They are points that I can [improve on] next game. Most importantly, on the communication, obviously on the passion.”

Fan favorite winger Ran Takahashi likewise zeroed in on points of improvement heading to a short break before Japan’s next contest against The Netherlands – another win-hungry team with a 3-6 record – on Friday, June 21.

“We had just one week or two weeks of practice. I think we are not perfect. Maybe we need more practice and we need more communication with each player. Then we have to create more (opportunities) for the team,” he said after tallying a 13-point supporting effort.

Although all business on the court, Ishikawa nonetheless took time to still thank his team’s consistent supporters, who have always flocked to Manila’s VNL venues since the league gave the Philippines a hosting chance in 2022.

“The crowd was amazing. We are so happy to play here again, so today we lost but next match we will try to win. We have two days off so [we can work on] some things to be better. Next match is important for us so we should focus on our things,” he said.

“It’s amazing to play here again this year. When we make points, the crowd cheers on us, so we’re so happy and excited. Thank you for supporting and we will show our best volleyball.” –

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