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    Hitachi Rivale outlasts Jaja Santiago's Ageo Medics in five-set thriller

    Feb 19, 2022
    Jaja Santiago
    PHOTO: Ageo Medics

    HITACHI Rivale outlasted Jaja Santiago and Ageo Medics, 25-21, 27-29, 25-18, 18-25, 25-27, in their return to action in the Japan V.League at the Saitama Prefectural Budokan.

    The Saitama-based squad, which last played on Jan. 16 before rising cases of COVID-19 forced the suspension of matches , blew a 2-1 lead and squandered a 25-24 match point advantage in the fifth set.

    Hitachi, led by Fuyumi Hawi Okumu Oba and Miwako Osanai, got the best of Saitama at the end of the 36-minute fifth set, nailing three straight crucial attacks to complete its come-from-behind victory after two hours and 41 minutes.

    Oba, daughter of University of the Philippines coach Godfrey Okumu, delivered the big blows for the Rivale and finished with 28 points on 27 attacks and a block.

    Osanai was also sensational with 26 points off 24 attacks and two blocks. Ruriko Uesaka chipped in 14, while American import Hannah Tapp and Aya Watanabe combined for 10 of the team’s 14 blocks and finished with 11 markers each.

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    Jaja Santiago, Ageo Medics suffer seventh loss

    Hitachi halted a three-match skid to improve to 8-13 in eighth place after stunning Saitama, which came from a month-long hiatus after a number of its players contracted COVID-19 that caused postponement of its six matches in the past four weeks.

    Santiago had 16 points scattering 12 kills, two blocks and two aces for Saitama, which slid to seventh place with a 10-7 record.

    Lorenne Teixeira led Saitama with 29 points including three blocks. Yuka Sato delivered 19 points, while substitute Yuki Meguro added 12 as starting spiker Mami Uchiseto struggled with six markers.

    Santiago and Co. try to bounce back against the No.5 Denso (12-6) on Sunday.

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    PHOTO: Ageo Medics
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