Kento Miyaura leads Japan to straight-set win vs. Team USA in VNL Pasay leg closer


Japan shut the door on the USA's last dash to a playoff spot with a shock sweep. Jade Moya
By John Rhey Piamonte

PASAY—Capping off their Manila stint in yet another dominant fashion, world no. 3 Japan ousted Team USA in a sweet 25-20, 25-23, 25-19 sweep to end their 2024 Men's Volleyball Nations League preliminary phase on a high note.  

In front of 12,424 fans at the Mall of Asia Arena, the Ryujin Nippon leaned on to Kento Miyaura's monster game as the lefty spiker registered a game-high 18 markers, 12 of those coming from attacks, one block, and five rousing service aces. 

The Olympic-bound Japan team concluded their preliminary phase with a 9-3 record, good enough for third place in the current team standings. 

With stars Yuji Nishida, Yuki Ishikawa, and Ran Takahashi not playing, Coach Philippe Blain's second unit stepped up to the plate, with Masato Kai paving the way for the Japanese. 

The 20-year-old outside hitter Kai contributed 16 points, built on 12 attacks and four service aces. 

Meanwhile, middle blockers Taishi Onodera and Larry Ik Evbade-Dan also added eight markers each, providing the much-needed firepower for the depleted Japan squad.

Last year's bronze medalist Japan team had a superb service game that dictated the pace of the match, nailing a total of 12 aces, including three consecutive aces from Miyaura in the third set. 

Those aces brought the Japanese back on the driver's seat and at match point, 24-18.

Kai then put the nail in the coffin with an off-the-block hit to rout Team USA at 25-19. 

World no. 5 Team USA ended their 2024 VNL stint at a 5-7 record. 

Japan will now shift its focus to the VNL Finals that will be held at Lódz, Poland next week.

Follow the site on X: @DugoutPH