Japanese club beats Cignal in straight sets

Joey Villar - The Philippine Star
Japanese club beats Cignal in straight sets

MANILA, Philippines — Kurashiki Ablaze overpowered Cignal, 25-23, 25-16, 25-23, yesterday to remain unscathed and inch closer to claiming a finals ticket in the Premier Volleyball League Invitational Conference.

It was pure hard work for the Japanese side as it played with a rock-solid floor defense that helped the visiting club stymy the HD Spikers’ every attempt at turning things around.

Kurashiki had almost everything covered with 62 excellent digs including 12 each from Yano Yukino and Takahashi Kaoru and 22 receptions including nine from Kaoru.

Tamaru Asaka led the Japanese attackers with 16 points while Taniguchi Saya and Yukino poured in 11 and 10 hits, respectively.

Kurashiki skipper Ohshima Kyoka later said they were amazed by the crowd turnout and support.

“We really felt happy because in Japan we don’t have this kind of audience. It was enjoyable,” said Kyoka through an interpreter.

It was a heartbreaking defeat for the HD Spikers – their third in four outings – as they were eliminated from the finals race and would have to fight for third place at most.

Cignal had its chances to extend the match though as it turned a three-point deficit into a 23-22 lead in the third set, thanks mainly to Jacqueline Acuña coming off the bench and delivering the crucial hits.

It turned out the last stand for the HD Spikers though as the Japanese were quick to adjust in scoring the last three points that sealed it.

Meanwhile, Creamline guns for the first finals berth as it tackles Kinh Bac-Bac Ninh of Vietnam today.

The Cool Smashers zoomed to the top to start the semifinals with a pristine 3-0 record and, if they could hurdle the Vietnamese in their 4 p.m. encounter, would move them straight to the knockout finals on July 30.

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