MANILA, Philippines – Marck Espejo and FC Tokyo earned a much-needed momentum boost in their Japan V. League campaign as they stunned the top-ranked Sakai Blazers in a grueling four-set win, 25-17, 25-20, 15-25, 25-19, on Saturday, December 4.
The newly-named V. League All-Star import was one of three Tokyo players in double-digit scoring as he finished with 10 points, all off attacks on a 46% conversion rate.
Fellow reinforcement Jonas Kvalen led the upset bid with 23 markers on 21 attacks and 2 blocks, while Yuma Nagatomo added 16 points as Tokyo rose to a 4-9 record.
Sharone Vernon-Evans and Yuki Higuchi led the losing effort with 18 and 13 markers, respectively, as the Blazers fizzled down to a 10-3 slate, tied with the Toray Arrows still in first place.
Bryan Bagunas, on the other hand, did not have the same winning fortune as the Suntory Sunbirds outlasted Oita Miyoshi in a five-set thriller, 25-20, 25-27, 25-27, 25-18, 15-12.
Bagunas led the heartbreaking loss with 26 points on 23 attacks and 3 blocks as the ninth-ranked Oita ultimately collapsed to a 2-11 record after back-to-back 27-25 victories in the second and third frames.
Only Suntory’s Alain De Armas Berrio outscored Bagunas as he finished with a game-high 28 markers on 25 attacks and 3 aces for a Sunbirds side that rose to a 9-4 slate for third place in the 10-team field.
Jaja Santiago, meanwhile, continued her winning ways over at the women’s division as the Saitama Ageo Medics edged the Hitachi Rivale in four sets, 25-18, 18-25, 25-18, 25-23.
The reigning Premier Volleyball League champion and MVP, however, was again overshadowed by her high-scoring teammates, as she finished with just 7 points off 4 blocks and 3 attacks.
Mami Uchiseto and Lorenne Teixeira led the way for the sixth-ranked Saitama side with 19 points apiece. Yuka Sato was not far behind in scoring as well with 17 markers to her name as they rose to an 8-5 record.
Miwako Osanai paced the loss with 17 points on 16 attacks and 1 ace as the Rivale slid down to a 5-8 record for eighth place in the 12-team division.
All teams return to action right away on Sunday, December 5, for rematches against their respective opponents. – Rappler.com