international volleyball

Filipino V. League imports earn win trifecta, Espejo limited to 1 set

JR Isaga
Filipino V. League imports earn win trifecta, Espejo limited to 1 set

HITTER. Bryan Bagunas topscores for Oita Miyoshi in their fourth win of the season.

Oita Miyoshi Twitter page

Bryan Bagunas, Jaja Santiago, and Marck Espejo all pick up wins with their respective teams in the Japan V. League

MANILA, Philippines – The star-laden Filipino import crew all picked up victories in the Japan V. League, led by Bryan Bagunas and Oita Miyoshi’s thrilling five-set escape, 35-33, 21-25, 26-24, 18-25, 16-14, over the Panasonic Panthers on Saturday, January 15.

Bagunas continued his excellent play with a game-high 28 points off 25 attacks, 2 blocks, and 1 ace as Oita rose to a 4-13 record, still at ninth place in the 10-team field.

Fellow import Emerson Rodriguez added 21 markers in the win, while Tatsunori Otsuka paced the losing effort with 20 points for the 10-7 Panthers.

Over at the women’s division, Jaja Santiago and the Saitama Ageo Medics welcomed the new year with a four-set win, 25-20, 22-25, 25-23, 25-19, over the Kurobe Aqua Fairies after more than a month of inactivity.

Santiago quickly shook off rust for a 16-point finish off 11 attacks and 5 blocks as Saitama improved to a 9-6 record, good for sixth place in the 12-team field.

Brazilian reinforcement Lorenne Teixeira led the win with 21 markers, while American import Merete Lutz paced the 2-13 Aqua Fairies with 20 points.

Finally, FC Tokyo snapped a three-game losing streak back in the men’s division with a four-set 26-24, 25-14, 22-25, 25-14 victory over the bottom-dwelling VC Nagano Tridents.

V. League All-Star Marck Espejo, however, played a very minor role in that win as he was only deployed in the first set and finished scoreless.

Fellow import Jonas Kvalen carried the team in his stead with 23 points off 19 attacks, 2 blocks, and 2 aces as Tokyo rose to a 5-12 record right above Bagunas’ Oita.

Indonesian reinforcement Rivan Nurmulki was once again Nagano’s lone bright spot as he led all scorers with 29 points. The Tridents sunk to a 1-16 slate in the loss, with their only win coming against Oita two games prior.

Bagunas, Santiago, and Espejo are all set to return for their respective rematches on Sunday, January 16. Whether or not Espejo regains his usual playing time remains to be seen. –

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