V.League: Bryan Bagunas takes charge as Oita avoids relegation
MANILA, Philippines — Bryan Bagunas unleashed 32 points to keep Oita Miyoshi in Division 1 after beating Fujitsu Kawasaki, 29-27, 25-21, 34-36, 25-19, in the V.Challenge match on Sunday at Odawara Arena in Japan.
With the Weisse Adler on the verge of relegation to Division 2 after a five-set loss to the Red Spirits on Saturday, Bagunas took matters into his own hands, nailing 26-of-52 attacking clip and delivering three blocks and three service aces to keep his team in Division 1 for the next season.
The Filipino import helped Oita Miyoshi overcome the gritty Division 2 runner-up in two hours and six minutes to stay in Japan’s top-tier men’s volleyball league after the team finished ninth with 6-30 record in the 2021-22 season.
Besides Bagunas, Kota Yamada also stepped up when it mattered most, finishing with 15 points built on 12 attacks, two blocks and an ace. Venezuelan import Emerson Rodriguez chipped in 12 markers, all coming from spikes. Fujitsu Kawasaki will stay in Division 2 as it failed to complete a sweep of Oita Miyoshi.
Yanagida Hyakushiki carried the Red Spirits with 24 points. Takuma Asano chimed in with 13 markers, while Takumi Tanihira added 12.
After his third season with Oita Miyoshi, Bagunas’ next mission is to lead the Philippine men’s volleyball team in the 31st Southeast Asian Games in Hanoi, Vietnam in May, where the Filipino Spikers will try to surpass their previous silver medal finish.