Marck Espejo and Tokyo put up a brave stand against defending V.League champion Suntory, eventually bowing in five thrilling sets, 24-26, 22-25, 25-23, 25-21, 11-15, Saturday at the Sky Arena in Osaka.
Espejo ended up with 12 points off 10 attacks and two aces in his first game back in Japan after almost three years.
After a slow opening that saw them drop the first two sets via close margins, FC Tokyo fought back and mounted a huge comeback in the third and fourth frames to send the series to a winner-take-all Game Five.
FC Tokyo had a rough start in the decider, surrendering six straight points to the Sunbirds before eventually slicing the gap to just two points, 7-9. It was a seesaw affair from there with Espejo igniting a 2-0 spurt to put his squad behind by two, 11-13, once more.
Masahiro Yanagida then put to an end to FC Tokyo’s brave stand by pummeling down two consecutive hits to end the match.
Yuga Nagatomo top-scored for the losing side with 16 points while Norwegian import Jonas Kvalen ended up with 14 markers.
Meanwhile, leading the charge for Suntory is Yanagida with 21 huge points founded on 20 attacks and an ace.
Kenya Fujinaka finished with 17 points for the Sunbirds while Cuban reinforcement De Armas Berrio Alai, who only played in the last two sets of the match, scored 10 points.
Chinese middle blocker Shikun Peng and Hungarian opposite spiker Árpád Baróti sat out the match for Suntory.
FC Tokyo looks to claim revenge against the reigning champions tomorrow at 1:00 PM at the same venue.