Saitama’s three-game win streak in the 2021-22 V.League Division 1 women’s tournament was snapped after surrendering to Hitachi in a thriller, 23-25, 25-27, 25-20, 25-19, 7-15, Sunday at the Adastria Mito Arena in Ibaraki.
Jaja Santiago dazzled anew at the net, getting four kill blocks to go with two attacks to finish with six points.
The 6-foot-5 Filipina got little to no attacking opportunities, going 2-of-6 in the spiking department in the five-setter.
After dominating the first two sets, Ageo Medics clawed back with stronger third and fourth frames to force a decider.
But the Rivale rediscovered their groove in the fifth canto en route to a 15-7 tally and the victory.
Ruriko Uesaka led Hitachi to a 6-8 win-loss record, making 20 points off 17 hits, two blocks, and a service ace.
Miwako Osanai added 19 big points while Aya Watanabe chalked up 17 points including three blocks.
Brazilian import Lorenne Teixeira went for 25 points in the loss. However, she was a measly 23-of-74 in the spiking category, good for just 31.1 percent.
Yuka Sato had 19 points while Mami Uchiseto fired 15 points, all from attacks. Kyoko Aoyagi also netted 12 points.
The defeat brought Ageo Medics to 8-6, tied with the PFU Bluecats for sixth heading into the month-long break.
Santiago and Saitama will return on the taraflex on January 15, Saturday, when they face cellar-dweller Kurobe at the Saiden Chemical Arena at 1 pm.