Panasonic dealt FC Tokyo a brutal start to the year with a 25-18, 25-18, 25-17 beating in the 2021-22 V.League Division 1 men’s tournament, Saturday afternoon at the Panasonic Arena Hall in Osaka.
Marck Espejo was silent in his first match this 2022, collecting just six points on five attacks and a block. He only connected on five of his 18 spiking attempts.
Polish import Michał Kubiak led the Panthers with 13 points, while Issei Otake had 12 points including two blocks. The latter also went 6-of-11 from the backrow.
Panasonic also got contributions from Akihiro Yamauchi – who scattered seven hits, four blocks, and a service ace for 12 points; and the duo of Kenyu Nakamoto and Yuichiro Komiya with eight points apiece.
The Panthers improved to 9-6, tied with Nagoya for the fourth spot in the 10-team field.
Norwegian Jonas Kvalen topscored in the losing cause with 13 points, while Yuma Nagatomo added 10.
FC Tokyo slid to 4-11, still at eighth.
Espejo and his squad seek to turn the tables tomorrow with a rematch against Panasonic at 1:00 PM at the same arena.