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2023 VNL Season

VNL: Wilfredo Leon announces debut, powers Poland to four-set win over Brazil

Poland fashioned a huge crucial four-set conquest of Brazil with the scores of 25-23, 22-25, 25-21, 25-21, in the antepenultimate day 2023 FIVB Volleyball Men’s Nations League preliminary round, Friday at the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.

With this win, the hosts of the Final Round secured third place with an 8-2 win-loss record.

Poland relied on its transitional attacks to establish a substantial 16-11 lead in the fourth set, but had to withstand a late surge from the South Americans. Norbert Hubert sealed the match in favor of the third-placed team from the 2022 VNL with a middle kill.

Wilfredo Leon made an impressive debut in the Philippines, scoring 20 points, including 18 attacks, along with a block and a service ace.

“It didn’t go as I expected, but we won as a team. We faced some challenges, but we managed to overcome them. Some players from the bench performed exceptionally well today. All I can say is that I’m happy we defeated Brazil,” said the seasoned 29-year-old star, reflecting on the crucial victory.

As anticipate, Brazil and Poland exchanged blows in the first set. However, the European side managed to gain an advantage by relying on their passing skills, eventually securing the set thanks to a kill by Leon.

In the following two sets, both teams delved deep into their repertoire, with Brazil gaining the upper hand through aggressive service, including four aces, two of which were scored by Lucarelli Souza and Lucas Saatkamp, to equalize the score in the second set.

In the third set, Poland made adjustments and found a standout performer in outside hitter Lukasz Kaczmarek, who scored five points, leading the world’s number one team to regain the set advantage at 2-1.

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Wing spikers Bartosz Bednorz and Bartosz Kurek provided valuable support to Leon. Bednorz contributed 11 points with nine attacks and two aces, while captain Kurek added 10 points despite limited playing time.

Poland will aim to improve its position heading into the final eight when they face Canada, who have struggled in the tournament, on Saturday at 3 p.m.

Alan Souza displayed his prowess on the right side for the Brazilians, leading his team with a game-high 22 points, including 20 spikes, one block, and one ace. Lucarelli added 14 points.

Brazil, which now holds a 7-3 record, will seek a bounce-back victory against China earlier on the same day at 11 a.m.

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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