The fierce competition between the two squads extended the opening set further…and further…and further. Somebody had to win though as Panasonic took the first set with a jaw-dropping 42-40 score line. While the winning score is just eight points away from two full sets, players from both squads were unfazed by the lengthy battle.
The defending Japanese V.League Division 1 men’s division champions maintained their momentum by taking the second set, 25-19. However, Marck Espejo converted a back row attack to clinch the third set for Oita, 25-20.
Oita Miyoshi fought tooth and nail with the Panthers until a 5-1 run from a 15-15 tie in the fourth set essentially sealed the match for the league-leading squad. A Panasonic kill block ended the match at 25-21.
Despite the loss, Espejo led the way with 23 attack points from 48 total attempts and one block. Yakan Guma contributed 22 markers, all from spikes. On the other hand, three Panasonic Panthers were in double-figures: Issei Otake with 22, Tsubasa Hishahra with 21, and Michal Kubiak with 13.
The Panthers improve to 13-2 while Weisse Adler fall to 2-13. Panasonic’s squad will play the Toray Arrows tomorrow at 11 am, Philippine time while the Oita Miyoshi Weisse Adler will face the Suntory Sunbirds also on January 13 at 2 pm, PH time.