VNL: Canada stays unbeaten in Manila, escapes Brazil

By John Rhey Piamonte

PASAY--Still unblemished. 

World no. 12 Canada continued their Week 3 domination after ripping Brazil in straight sets to remain undefeated in the Volleyball Nations League (VNL) Philippine leg.

The North Americans played like a well-oiled machine all throughout the match, capitalizing on Brazil's miscues in the decider for a 26-24, 25-19, 26-24 win at the Mall of Asia Arena on Friday. 

Riding on their two-game winning streak, the Paris-bound Canada improved their record to 7-4, good enough for fourth place in the current team standings. 

Canada traded blows with Brazil in the early goings of the match, until the duo of Eric Leoppky and Arthur Szwarc connected with a string of hits to break the deuce and bagged the set at 26-24.

The 25-year-old Leoppky stepped up big time for Canada, with the outside hitter delivering 25 huge points for his team. 

"I think it's been a build-up. Every week we keep on getting better, since week one. I think it's really coming together for us this week," Leoppky said.

After a dismal performance in last year's Manila leg, Canada made sure to turn things around in this year's edition with team captain Stephen Maar at the helm. 

Maar led the pivotal Set 2 surge for Canada and eventually nailed the set-clinching point after a solid off-the-block hit, 25-19. 

He ended the match with 12 points across his name, all coming from attacks while Szwarc added 11 for Canada. 

''I really trust and believe in our team. I know we can do great things together. We are just trying to be better in everything that we can," Leoppky said on the team's mindset heading into the final leg. 

Darlan Souza led the Brazilian's late-game campaign in the third set as he hit six markers in the salvo that paved the world no. 4 to tie the set at 23-all. 

But a couple of service errors from Brazil gave the Canadians a chance to snatch the lead back with Maar putting the finishing touches for another 26-24 ending. 

Canada will play the Netherlands in Saturday's second match. On the other hand, Brazil will close things out with a match against France this Sunday.

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