MANILA, Philippines – Bryan Bagunas’ Oita Miyoshi started the new year in the Japan V. League in heartbreaking fashion as the VC Nagano Tridents earned a breakthrough five-set win, 34-36, 25-20, 25-16, 23-25, 13-15, on Saturday, January 8.
After a month-long layoff to end 2021, Filipino star import Bagunas quickly shook off game rust and finished with a team-high 27 points on 19 attacks, 6 blocks, and 2 aces in the sorry loss which saw both squads run up the score in a thrilling first set.
Kota Yamada backstopped Bagunas with 20 markers, while Kenta Koga added 18 points as Oita fell to a 2-13 record in ninth place behind 1-14 Nagano, which finally snapped a 14-game skid.
Indonesian import Rivan Nurmulki led all scorers with 33 points off 30 attacks and 3 blocks in the win, while Kota Ikeda finished a far second for the Tridents with 17 markers.
Meanwhile, the Panasonic Panthers wasted little time in dispatching FC Tokyo with a three-set sweep, 25-18, 25-18, 25-17.
V. League All-Star Marck Espejo went down quietly in this year-opening match and finished with just 6 points on 5 attacks and 1 block.
Fellow import Jonas Kvalen led the way with 13 markers off 11 attacks and 2 rejections as FC Tokyo fell to a 4-11 record, good for eighth place in the 10-team field.
Polish hitter Michal Kubiak tied Kvalen with a game-high 13 points in the win, while Issei Otake and Akihiro Yamauchi each chipped in 12 markers for the Panthers, which rose to fourth place with a 9-6 slate.
As Jaja Santiago and the Saitama Ageo Medics endure game postponements, Bagunas and Espejo, meanwhile, will both return in their respective team’s rematches on Sunday, January 9. – Rappler.com