How does the Japanese V.League Final Eight work?

The Ageo Medics, Jaja Santiago’s team, and Dindin Santiago-Manabat’s Toray Arrows both clinched a spot in the Japanese V.League Women’s Division 1 Final Eight for the 2018-19 season. It’s essentially the play-offs for the remaining teams but with a few incentives.

Japanese V.League Final Eight explained

The V.League season started with 11 teams that played 20 games each in the elimination round. After all those games have been played out, the top four teams from both conferences will move on to the Final Eight. Sadly, the Okayama Seagulls, the Kurobe Aqua Fairies, and the PFU Blue Cats did not make the cut and thus ending their 2018-19 season.

The eight remaining teams will undergo another single round-robin which means every squad will have seven matches. But while team standings from the eliminations are not carried over, the clubs get additional match points before the Final Eight starts based on their ranking in the preliminaries. Conference leaders Hisamitsu Springs and NEC Red Rockets get six match points while the JT Marvelous and the Ageo Medics get four apiece as second-placers.

The Toyota Auto Body Queenseis and the Denso Airybees take two points each while fourth-placers Toray and Hitachi Rivale get none. Therefore, teams that did well in the eliminations still get their incentive but without giving the lesser-ranked squads much handicap. Likewise, those extra match points could be important if multiple teams end up with the same win-loss record.

Only the top three teams will advance in the next phase, aptly called the Final Three, after the Final Eight stage is over.

How does the Final Three work?

The top team among the final three will get an automatic slot in the Final. However, the second and third-place teams will play two games in home-and-away format. The team that can win both games will challenge the top seed for the championship. But if the two teams split the games, a 25-point Golden Set game will be carried out to determine the winner.

The same format and rules apply in the Finals with the winner being declared champions of the Japanese V.League Women’s Division 1 2018-19 season.