By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña
Marck Espejo and FC Tokyo got the better of Bryan Bagunas and the Oita Miyoshi volleyball club, 22-25, 25-22, 25-20, 25-17 during the 2021-22 V. League Division 1 men’s tournament in Japan.
Two of the most talented volleyball players from the Philippines went at it in one of the fiercest showdowns in Japan’s men’s volleyball professional league.
Espejo, the former Ateneo Blue Eagle superstar, played one of his best offensive games of the season and dropped 16 huge points in the much-needed win.
Bagunas on the other hand stayed solid with his game and tallied 22 points on 18 attacks on top of three blocks despite the loss against FC Tokyo.
It was Bagunas’ Miyoshi team who prevailed first in the match, taking the first set in a nip-and-tuck affair but melted down the stretch and conceded the next three sets.
Espejo finally caught fire at the start of the second set and built a huge momentum boost after converting three consecutive powerful spikes that left the Miyoshi middle-blockers helpless.
Tokyo’s Jonas Kvalen and Yuma Nagatomo then got to work and joined Espejo in the offensive spree as the duo combined for 29 points, 18 and 11, respectively.
Bagunas and Miyoshi are yet to win a game against Espejo and Tokyo as they also got swept, 2-0, during their back-to-back meetings last November 2021.
After their respective Japan V. League stints, the PH volleyball duo will go back to being teammates after committing to the Philippine national team for the upcoming 2022 Southeast Asian Games in Hanoi, Vietnam.