international volleyball

Santiago, Ageo earn sweep win as Bagunas, Espejo fall anew

JR Isaga
Santiago, Ageo earn sweep win as Bagunas, Espejo fall anew

STREAK. Jaja Santiago and Ageo Medics look to sustain their winning run next weekend.

Saitama Ageo Medics

Picking up a pair of wins to end the weekend, Jaja Santiago and the Saitama Ageo Medics sustain their steady climb in the Japan V. League

Jaja Santiago and the Saitama Ageo Medics completed a two-game weekend sweep of the winless Toyota Auto Body Queenseis with a hard-fought straight-sets decision, 25-21, 25-21, 25-23, in the Japan V. League on Sunday, November 28.

Much like the previous game, the champion star blocker took a background role in the win, and finished with just 6 points off 4 attacks, and 2 blocks, while Yuka Sato led the way anew with 20 markers, all off attacks.

With the pair of wins to end the weekend, the Medics remained in good condition with a 7-5 record, good for sixth place in the 12-team field.

They now aim to keep their winning streak alive next weekend, December 4 and 5, with a back-to-back slate against the eighth place Hitachi Rivale, holders of a 5-7 record.

Not all is well, however, for the Filipino import contingent this weekend as both Bryan Bagunas and new V. League All-Star Marck Espejo again suffered quick sweeps against their respective opponents.

Bagunas actually started well against the JT Hiroshima Thunders with 5 points off 3 attacks, and 2 blocks in the first set, but he was then curiously benched for the latter two frames as Oita Miyoshi ate up a 16-25, 17-25, 15-25 blowout loss.

No player from the losing side breached double-digit scoring as Kenta Koga and Shota Fujiwara led with 8 and 6 points, respectively.

Oita remained at ninth place in the 10-team division with a 2-10 record, and now hope for better showings next weekend against the fifth-ranked Suntory Sunbirds.

Unlike Bagunas, Espejo played two sets in FC Tokyo’s 13-25, 21-25, 20-25 loss to the Toray Arrows, but he fared no better as he finished with just 3 points, all off attacks.

Yuma Nagatomo led the way with 10 points off 8 attacks, 1 block, and 1 ace as Tokyo slid down to a 3-9 record in eighth place just above Oita.

They now face a pair of difficult challenges next weekend as they face the top-ranked Sakai Blazers, who currently hold an elite 10-2 record. –