Slovenia seals final week spot in VNL
Slovenia demolished The Netherlands, 25-20, 32-30, 25-22, on Sunday to assure itself of a spot in the final week of the men’s Volleyball Nations League (VNL) while also snuffing out all hopes that the Dutch had of advancing.
Tine Urnaut and Klemen Cebulj formed a formidable 1-2 punch for Slovenia, which rose 8-4 and will go to Poland for championship week on a high after the win carved out before an appreciative crowd at Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
The finals, where the champion national team will receive a whopping US$1.5 million (around P84M), is slated from July 19 to July 24.
Urnaut drilled in 12 attacks on the way to 14 points, while Cebulj had four blocks, eight hits and an ace on the way to 13 points as Slovenia wrapped up eliminations in seventh spot and the right to face the No. 2 seed in the quarterfinals.
“It’s an important moment for us. It’s an important game so we’re happy to show what we expect from each other. We played as a team and we’d like to keep it moving forward,” said Cebulj.
Nimir Abdel-Aziz was at the forefront of a stubborn Dutch stand, scoring on a kill for a 24-23 lead in the second which The Netherlands failed to wrap up as Cebulj scored in the next play to necessitate the marathon ending to the second set.
After struggling in losses to Japan and Brazil, Abdel-Aziz fired 22 points for the Dutch, who wound up with a 1-3 record this week and 5-7 for ninth spot.
France, which is at 5-6, and Serbia, 6-6, will fight it out for the No. 8 spot in a crucial match to be held in Anaheim, California on Monday (Manila time).
Meanwhile, Canada played well enough to clip China, 23-25, 25-21, 25-17, 25-18, to end its Philippine stint on a winning note.
The Canadians kept their composure after losing the first set to eventually close out with a 3-9 record. INQ