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    PHOTO: Volleyball World

    AFTER a successful debut earlier this year, the world's best men'splayers will return to the Philippines for the Pasay City leg of the Volleyball Nations League (VNL) on July 4-9, 2023 at the Mall of Asia Arena.

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    Among the returning teams from VNL 2022 are crowd favorite Japan, world number two Italy, China, Slovenia, and the Netherlands.

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    Meanwhile, set to compete on Philippine soil for the first time are Brazil, Canada, and Poland, the world's top-ranked men's volleyball squad.

    Volleyball World CEO Finn Taylor underscores the VNL's continuous pursuit of delivering top-class volleyball action to the rest of the world in 2023.

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    “The past two editions of the VNL have been great successes and now we are gearing up to expect even bigger and brighter things from 2023 in some of the world’s best arenas fit for top-class volleyball," said Taylor.

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    Reigning men's VNL champion France, who featured in the Quezon City leg back in June, will not return next year.

    In an interview with Polish volleyball league PlusLiga last October, French captain Benjamin Toniutti expressed his frustration with the Philippines' hosting of VNL 2022.

    "Explain to me because I can't understand what's the point of playing a VNL match in the Philippines at 10 a.m. in front of an audience of twenty? In a country where there is not even a volleyball team! ... What's all this for?" Toniutti said in Polish.

    Toniutti's "audience of twenty" claim was debunked in the official match reports issued by the International Volleyball Federation, with spectator counts reaching as high as 10,273 at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.

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    PHOTO: Volleyball World
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