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Sports

Olympic champs shatter Dutch

Joey Villar - The Philippine Star
Olympic champs shatter Dutch
French Barthelemy Chinenyeze explodes at the net versus Dutch Fabian Plak.
Jun Mendoza

MANILA, Philippines — Earvin Ngapeth, who powered France to the men’s volleyball gold in the Tokyo Olympics, has looked forward to playing in front of avid Filipino fans.

The reigning MVP in the Olympics yesterday made sure he left a lasting impression.

The 31-year-old Paykan Tehran VC star was scintillating in his Philippine debut as the world No. 3 posted an emphatic 25-14, 25-23, 25-13 win over the Netherlands and zoomed to the top of the Volleyball Nations League Week 2 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

“I received a lot of messages from Filipino people. It’s so cool to be here to play volleyball here,” said Ngapeth. “I hope we will make two good games for the fans. This is for the fans here in the Philippines.”

The win pushed the Roosters straight to the top with 15 points on five wins in six outings.

It included a forfeiture victory over China, which could not play in their scheduled duel the day before due to issues related to COVID-19.

Powerhouse United States was at No. 2 with 14 points while Japan at No. 3 with 13.

Ngapeth did most of everything – from scoring (eight points) to defending (five receptions and four digs) and to orchestrating plays that helped fuel the spiking machine that is France.

It resulted in Stephen Boyer, Barthelemy Chinenyeze, Trevor Clevenot and Nicolas Le Goff getting off with strong performances, finishing with 15, 12, 11 and 10 points, respectively.

The Orange Tulips though put up a strong fight and could have snatched the second set and perhaps changed the game’s complexion when they raced to set point, 24-21.

It wasn’t meant to be though as the Dutch slipped to No. 6 with nine points.

“In the second set, we just found a way to come back and win the set,” said Boyer.

Ngapeth will have another chance to showcase his tremendous talent as the French battle the Japanese tomorrow and the Germans on the final day Sunday.

The event has PLDT as presenting partner while The STAR, Quezon City headed by Mayor Joy Belmonte, Maynilad, Philippine Sports Commission and the Philippine Olympic Committee are among those backing this ultra-competitive 16-country event.

VOLLEYBALL

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