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Tiebreaker Times

2024 VNL Season

Ishikawa, Nishida shine vs Netherlands as Japan closes in on VNL Top 8

Japan produced a crucial, bounce-back win in the ongoing third week of the 2024 FIVB Men’s Volleyball Nations League with a strong 25-18, 25-19, 25-15 sweep of the Netherlands on Friday at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.

Ryujin Nippon grabbed their seventh win against three defeats to inch closer to a second straight appearance in the tournament’s Top 8, thanks to their resilience on defense.

With the Dutchmen threatening to extend the match, Yuji Nishida took matters into his own hands. He turned a 10-12 deficit into a 16-12 cushion by scoring three service aces in that span.

Nonetheless, Japan won the game in transitions, with Yuki Ishikawa firing from the back row to seal the deal for the Asian side.

VNL2024-Akihiro-Fukatsu-Masato-Kai-5549 Ishikawa, Nishida shine vs Netherlands as Japan closes in on VNL Top 8 2024 VNL Season News Volleyball  - philippine sports news

“I think we just need to play good volleyball. Every point should be played, and every player should just focus on how to get the win. More people must get in the same mindset and play quality volleyball,” said the 24-year-old winger Nishida.

Learning from its previous defeat against Canada last Tuesday – and with Ran Takahashi out due to an undisclosed injury – Japan made adjustments primarily to its defensive pattern.

Tatsunori Otsuka came in for Takahashi, with Tomohiro Ogawa starting as libero instead of Tomohiro Yamamoto.

The change in defensive alignment paid dividends for the Japanese side, as it became easier for setter Masahiro Sekita to choose his points of attack.

Their service game was also on point as not only did Nishida end with aces, but even Masato Kai – who served for Taishi Onodera – scored one to end the first set.

#ReadMore  Mhicaela Belen finally meets Ran Takahashi

VNL2024-Yuji-Nishida-5651 Ishikawa, Nishida shine vs Netherlands as Japan closes in on VNL Top 8 2024 VNL Season News Volleyball  - philippine sports news

The best aspect of Japan’s game today was its counter-attack, which secured them the last two sets. Kentaro Takahashi scored on a quick kill for the 2-0 set advantage before his skipper’s finishing blow in the match.

Nishida finished with a match-high 16 points on 10 attacks, three blocks, and the three service aces that turned the third frame around.

Meanwhile, captain Ishikawa produced 15 markers on 12 attacks, including the match-winning kill, one block, and two service aces.

Japan will go up against fellow 7-3 France in a battle for position in the Final Round, happening on Saturday at 7:00 PM.

Maarten Van Garderen was the only Orange Tulip in double figures with 10 markers on seven kills, two blocks, and a service ace.

Their captain Nimir Abdel-Aziz saw himself limited to seven points before sitting out the final set.

The Netherlands will try to close out its tournament with a win as they face 7-3 Canada, also on Saturday at 3:00 PM – right before the Japan-France tussle in the same Pasay venue.

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