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Kawagoue shines anew, lifts Maruichi to Spikers Turf bronze match

Maruichi Hyogo finally broke through, fending off Kinto Tyres-Perpetual in a tight straight sets encounter, 29-27, 25-20, 25-22, to qualify for the bronze medal match in the Spikers’ Turf Invitational Conference, Tuesday at the Philsports Arena.

Yuji Kawagoue put up another brilliant performance – but came away with the win this time around – and tallied a game-high 24 points in just an hour and 24 minutes of action to go along with 17 excellent receptions and eight excellent digs to help his side end the semis with a 1-3 slate.

“Finally, we could play our system. We had a lot of meetings and we discussed a lot so we could see and know our system,” said Maruichi head coach Kota Kunichika.

The Japanese squad, led by Kawagoe, pulled away in the middle of the third set and zoomed to a 20-13 advantage after a Hinata Kuroda block on Sean Codeniera.

Jefferson Marapoc tried to will the Altas back into the game, leading a 5-1 rally late in the frame that cut a 22-15 disadvantage to just three, 20-23, before Kawagoe and Kyosuke Kashimoto put on the finishing touches.

“They are trying to hit attacks against high and tall blockers so I could see that the mentality against stronger teams is getting better,” he added.

Kuroda backstopped Kawagoe with 16 points while Kashimoto chipped in 15 markers.

Kyosuke Maruyama tossed 24 excellent sets while Ren Kwamatu registered 12 excellent digs.

On the other hand, Perpetual, who finished the semis winless and ended the tournament in fifth place, was led by Marapoc’s 19-point outing on 15 attacks, three blocks, and one ace.

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Kobe Tabuga added 17 points while top spiker Louie Ramirez was held to just two markers.

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