international volleyball

Santiago, Bagunas deliver contrasting V. League results, Espejo sits out

JR Isaga
Santiago, Bagunas deliver contrasting V. League results, Espejo sits out

KEY COG. Bryan Bagunas tallies another double-digit performance.


Filipina star blocker Jaja Santiago helps Saitama Ageo Medics complete a weekend sweep as Bryan Bagunas’ Oita Miyoshi split their assignments

MANILA, Philippines – Jaja Santiago and the Saitama Ageo Medics completed a triumphant weekend sweep to kick off 2022 as they took care of the low-ranked Kurobe Aqua Fairies in a three-set rout, 25-14, 26-24, 25-12, in the Japan V. League on Sunday, January 16.

The Filipina star blocker Santiago made the most of her time and finished with 10 points on 6 attacks and 4 blocks as Saitama rose to a 10-6 record, good for fifth place in the 12-team field.

Local spikers Mami Uchiseto and Yuka Sato led the easy win with 17 and 15 markers apiece, while Thai import Pimpichaya Kokram paced the 2-14 Fairies in the sorry loss with 11 points.

Santiago and Saitama are scheduled to return on Saturday, January 22, for a tough back-to-back slate against the third-ranked NEC Red Rockets.

Over at the men’s division, Bryan Bagunas and Oita Miyoshi split their weekend assignments as the Panasonic Panthers blitzed through in three sets, 25-18, 25-21, 25-13.

Bagunas snapped a three-game run of scoring 20-plus points and settled for just 10 markers off 8 attacks, 1 block, and 1 ace as Oita fell to a 4-14 record.

Venezuelan import Emerson Rodriguez paced the loss with 12 points, while local hitter Kunihiro Shimizu led the 11-7 Panthers with 15 markers.

Bagunas and Oita will have a pair of tall tasks ahead of them next weekend as they prepare for back-to-back games against the second-ranked Sakai Blazers.

Finally, FC Tokyo completed a weekend sweep of their own as they ran over the bottom-dwelling VC Nagano Tridents in three frames, 25-22, 25-16, 25-16.

However, they did so without their V. League All-Star Marck Espejo, who was spotted in street clothes less than 24 hours after a scoreless, one-set appearance on Saturday, January 15.

Norwegian import Jonas Kvalen again picked up the slack and led the easy win with 13 points off 11 attacks and 2 blocks as Tokyo rose to a 6-12 record.

Kota Ikeda paced the loss for the 1-17 Tridents with 15 markers while Indonesian reinforcement Rivan Nurmulki was limited to just 12 points.

Tokyo will need Espejo’s services as soon as next weekend as they face the third-place Suntory Sunbirds in a back-to-back slate. –