Jaja Santiago, Ageo Medics take come-from-behind win over Okayama Seagulls

It looked as if Jaja Santiago and the Ageo Medics will suffer their third straight defeat after losing the first two sets to the Okayama Seagulls.

But they made a spirited run to take the match in five sets: 25-27, 18-25, 25-19, 25-16, 15-9. Santiago had 12 attack points on 28 attempts, three aces and one block. The Medics now have a 3-2 record and eight match points which is good for third place in the V.League Division 1 Eastern Conference behind the NEC Red Rockets (4-2, 13 points) and the Denso Airybees (3-2, 9 points). Meanwhile, the Seagulls are relegated to the bottom of the Western Conference with a 1-3 record to go with three match points.

Katarina “Keti” Barun led the Medics with 15 attacks, two aces, and a block while Miyuki Horie added 15 spike points. Yuuri Yoshino contributed 11 attack points and two blocks while Mami Miura is the fifth Ageo Medics player in double-digit scoring with nine spikes and a kill block. Meanwhile, Mai Yamaguchi paced the Seagulls with 14 attack points and one block while Syuuka Kaneda made 14 spike conversions.

The Medics fought back from an 18-22 deficit in the opening chapter to force an extended set. However, Kaneda connected on back-to-back spikes to take the first set. The Seagulls raced to a 4-0 start in the second set and the Medics were not able to recover due to attacks from Aimi Kawashima and Moe Sasaki.

Medics provide first aid to claim victory

Santiago made timely spikes in the third set to extend the match for the Medics. In Set 4, Santiago, Yoshino, Barun, and Syara Yamaguchi teamed up to force a fifth and deciding set. Sasaki and Minami Youshida brought the points for Okayama in the Seagulls but they were outclassed by Santiago and Barun.

The Medics dominated the stat sheet in all scoring categories. The Saitama-based squad collected 72 attack points in 218 attempts while Okayama made 63 out of 213. Blocks (11-8) and service aces (6-3) went to Ageo’s way as well. The Seagulls had 44 service receptions though as compared to the Medics’ 37.

Santiago and the Medics will try to get their fourth win in six games against the Western Conference-leading Toyota Auto Body Queenseis on December 1 at 2 PM Philippine time. On the other hand, the Seagulls will battle the Hitachi Rivale on the 1st as well.