Jaja Santiago and Saitama’s fightback fell short, succumbing to Denso in a thriller, 24-26, 23-25, 25-23, 25-18, 11-15, Saturday afternoon in the 2021-22 Japan V.League Division 1 women’s tournament at the KitaGas Arena in Sapporo.
The 25-year-old Filipina import followed up her 17 point-performance yesterday with an even better showing. She registered 23 points on 18 attacks, four blocks, and a service ace in the losing cause.
Making it more impressive was her spiking percentage at 60, making 18 of her 30 attempts.
The Airybees raced to a 9-4 start in the fifth set, thanks to Fumika Moriya, Yuki Hyodo, Mami Yokota, Rei Kudou, and Roslandy Acosta.
But Santiago sparked a rally, getting four points in the 5-2 surge by Saitama, to trail by just two, 9-11.
However, Hyodo and Kudou joined hands to avoid the collapse of Denso.
With the Airybees threatening to sweep the contest, Ageo Medics came to their senses and started the comeback trail in the third set, eking a close 25-23 decision.
In the fourth frame, Saitama continued to get in its groove, blowing out Denso by seven, 25-18, to force a deciding fifth set.
Leading the balanced scoring for the Airybees was Hyodo with 20 points, all from attacks as Denso rose to 7-3.
Acosta and Yokota chimed in 19 points each with the latter guarding the net well with six block kills.
Kudou also got herself a game with 16 points on 12 attacks, two blocks, and two aces.
Mami Uchiseto tallied 15 points while Shuri Yamaguchi and Kyoko Aoyagi chalked up 11 points apiece as Ageo Medics evened their slate at 5-5.
Saitama will go back home to host Toyota Auto Body on Saturday, 12 pm, at the Kawagoe Sports Park Gymnasium.