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Tiebreaker Times

2024 VNL Season

Japan triumphs over France in epic reverse sweep to qualify for VNL Final Round

Inside the jam-packed SM Mall of Asia Arena on Saturday, Japan completed a thrilling reverse sweep against rivals France, 17-25, 19-25, 25-16, 25-23,15-10, securing its second straight appearance in the FIVB Men’s Volleyball Nations League Final Phase.

In front of a raucous crowd of 11,879, Kento Miyaura shone for the Ryujin Nippon in their eighth win against three defeats.

Japan has one match left on its schedule against the United States.

The 25-year-old opposite hitter replaced Yuji Nishida in the first set and eventually started in the second. He finished with 19 points from 16 attacks, including the match-clinching kill, along with one block and two service aces.

“Yuji had a so-so game earlier, so I was called to play. It was amazing that we were able to come back; I can’t even believe it myself. But the Filipino fans kept pushing us, so we’re happy we were able to pull this win off,” said Miyaura, who coincidentally plays in France with Paris Volley.

“Today, I played very well and it feels amazing every time I score. I guess I just need to improve my blocking, and I will work on it in training.”

VNL2024-Yuki-Ishikawa-0583 Japan triumphs over France in epic reverse sweep to qualify for VNL Final Round 2024 VNL Season News Volleyball  - philippine sports news

Captain Yuki Ishikawa carried the load for Japan with a huge 33-point outing, most of which came in the dominant 10-3 run in the third set.

Meanwhile, middle blockers Akihiro Yamauchi and Kentaro Takahashi combined for a total of 12 points.

The reigning Olympic champions dictated the pace, forcing the Asian side to commit uncharacteristic mistakes on the attack. With Trevor Clevenot and Jean Patry working their magic at the finish, the Roosters were able to secure both the first and the second sets convincingly.

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The match’s speed came to a screeching halt in the third set when Japan devised a game plan to slow down their serves, disrupting the flow of the French offense.

VNL2024-Kento-Miyaura-0552 Japan triumphs over France in epic reverse sweep to qualify for VNL Final Round 2024 VNL Season News Volleyball  - philippine sports news

Japan then returned to their usual fast tempo in the following set, which almost backfired.

Thanks to another Miyaura attack and a subsequent error by Clevenot, though, the match went into a decider.

The much-anticipated clash between fan favorites Japan and the United States (5-6) will conclude the Week 3 action in the Philippines on Sunday at 7:00 PM.

Opposite hitter Patry won the battle of the right-side hitters with 21 points for the 2022 VNL champions, 18 of them coming from attacks.

Meanwhile, despite his miscues, Clevenot still ended with 15 points, all from spikes.

France, which slipped to 7-4, will try to secure a spot in the Final Round when they face Brazil (6-5) in the second match on Sunday, the last day of the preliminary phase.

Grew to appreciate various sports from tennis to judo. True-maroon kiddo since the new millennium. Fanboy. Singer. Occasional sports writer.

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