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V.League: Jaja, Saitama sweep NEC to open campaign


Jaja Santiago and Saitama opened their 2022-23 V.League Division 1 season on a rousing note, sweeping NEC, 25-21, 25-19, 25-13, Saturday at the Todoroki Arena in Kanagawa.

Santiago, the league’s reigning best middle blocker, registered nine points in the romp, solely outclassing in the blocking department, 3-2.

The Ageo Medics, who played without Serbian import Sara Lozo, needed just 1 hour and 14 minutes to go to 1-0.

Yuka Sato returned to her smashing ways for Saitama, top-scoring with 13 points, while opposite spiker Aki Meguro added 10 points with three service aces.

“Despite the tenseness of the opening set, the players played together with a strong spirit. We were able to break down the opponent’s defense with our serve,” said first year Ageo Medics head coach Shigekazu Okubo.

The Red Rockets missed American reinforcement Sarah Parsons and superstar Sarina Koga in the defeat.

Ayumi Yoshida paced NEC with 14 points, all from attacks, while Misaki Yamauchi and Kaori Ueno had eight points apiece.

Both teams meet again tomorrow at 12 pm (Manila time).

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