Japan pulls through vs Netherlands sans Takahashi

Ralph Edwin Villanueva - Philstar.com
Japan pulls through vs Netherlands sans Takahashi
Team Japan
STAR / Russell Palma

MANILA, Philippines -- No Ran Takahashi, no problem.

Japan returned to its winning ways in the men’s Volleyball Nations League after making quick work of the Netherlands, 25-18, 25-19, 25-20, Friday night at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.

Yuji Nishida finished with 16 points off 10 attacks, three blocks and three service aces for Japan, who had Takahashi replaced for the rest of the VNL. Yuki Ishikawa chipped in 15 to help the Japanese return to the win column.

After huge wins by Japan in the first two sets, the match seemed to head to a fourth set after the Netherlands took a five point lead, 11-6, after an attack error by Nishida.

A 10-1 run by the Japanese sparked by Nishida towed the Japanese firmly in the driver’s seat as they took a 16-12 lead.

A Nishida service error halted the run, but Plak answered with a service error of his own to help Japan retake the four point edge.

This advantage was maintained the rest of the way, as big errors by the Dutch just kept them at bay.

An Ishikawa kill ended the match, 25-20.

“Last game, the loss against Canada, it’s a strong team… Coming to the next two matches, this is a very important win,” Nishida said after the game.

“This 3-0, this is a good win.”

Tatsunori Otsuka and Kentaro Takahashi provided eight apiece for Japan, which lost in five sets to Canada on Tuesday.

Maarten Van Garderen led the Netherlands with 10 as the only player of the team in double digits.

Nimir Abdel-Aziz and Wouter Ter Maat had seven points each.

Japan is currently in seventh place with a 7-3 record before battling France. The Netherlands dropped to 3-8 and will face Canada next. Both games will be on Saturday at the same venue.

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