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. – Rappler.com