Yuki Ishikawa powers 10-0 Japan to 4-set victory over Netherlands

Japanese players chest bump each other after a kill. Cesca Rampas
By John Rhey Piamonte

PASAY—Volleyball Nations League-leading Japan reasserted its dominance after a masterful 25-19, 26-24, 23-25, 25-17 victory over the Netherlands to stay unbeaten in front of a capacity crowd at the Mall of Asia Arena, Friday. 

Japan leaned on Yuki Ishikawa's solid outing, as he nailed 17 points, 14 of which came from kills, two on blocks, and one ace that kept Japan immaculate, improving to 10-0.

The trio of Ishikawa, Ran Takahashi, and Kento Miyaura fired up the packed MOA Arena in the first set, lighting up the floor with a barrage of astounding kills en route to a 25-19 cushion. 

Takahashi tallied a 10-point outing while last game's hero Miyaura had 12 markers for Japan. 

Down by five match points in the second set, Netherlands went on a 4-0 rally capped by Gijs Jorna's kill block to force a deuce.

But Ishikawa once again lived up to the hype and nailed a set-clinching off-the-block hit.

The Netherlands refused to go home early after managing to come out from a 14-16 deficit, with Jorna and Fabian Plak consecutive blocks for a 19-18 reversal. Opposite Wouter Ter Maat finished things off for the Orange Tulips as he hammered down back-to-back spikes to take the third set.

Ter Maat chipped in a game-high 21 points performance, 18 on kills, two blocks, and one ace. Jorna and Plak also contributed 10 and 8, in a losing effort.

Crowd favorite Yuji Nishida took over in the fourth, spearheading the 4-0 run by Japan, including an absurd first ball kill that put the game away from the hands of the Netherlands. 

Japan will look to protect its unbeaten streak against the other only undefeated team in the Pasay leg, Italy on Saturday at 7 p.m.

"Italy is a strong team. We need to play smart and we cannot afford to commit mistakes. We have to properly organize our attacks," Ishikawa said about their upcoming match-up against rival Italy.

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