PVL: Japan's Kurashiki eases past Cignal to stay unbeaten | Inquirer Sports

PVL: Japan’s Kurashiki eases past Cignal to stay unbeaten

/ 06:53 PM July 24, 2023

Kurashiki Ablaze PVL

Kurashiki Ablaze during a game against the Cignal HD Spikers in the PVL Invitational Conference. MARLO CUETO/INQUIRER.net

MANILA, Philippines — Kurashiki Ablaze swept the Cignal HD Spikers, 25-23, 25-16, 25-23, to stay unbeaten in two games in the 2023 Premier Volleyball League (PVL) Invitational Conference on Monday at Philsports Arena.

The third-division Japanese team remained dominant in its first game against a Filipino club as team captain Kyoka Ohshima, who was sidelined Saturday after feeling under the weather, was a revelation for the Ablaze with 22 excellent sets on top of three points. Three of her teammates also supplied significant output, finishing in double figures.


“Cignal is strong and they have a tall blocking pattern. We tried to find a way to evade their blocks. This game, we did well in spiking,” said Kyoka through a translator after her team outclassed the HD Spikers in attacking, 55-33.


Asaka Tamaru, who made a rousing debut with 29 points in their four-set win over Vietnam’s Kinh Bac-Bac Ninh, dropped 16 points. Saya Taniguchi chipped in 11 points, while Yukino Nano had 10 points and displayed stellar floor defense with 12 digs and eight excellent receptions helping libero Kaoru Takahashi, who tallied 12 digs and nine receptions.

“Cignal is a great offensive team so we focused on our defense. It was a good game,” said Japanese coach Hideo Suzuki.

Kurashiki rose to 2-0 behind semis leader and defending champion Creamline (3-0), while sending Cignal to the brink of missing the final with a 1-3 record as only the top two teams will advance to the championship game on July 30.

Another win of the Japanese club against F2 Logistics (1-2) on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. will eliminate Cignal from the gold medal race.

The Ablaze erased an 8-13 deficit in the fourth as they scored six straight points capped by Jacqueline Acuña’s net violation to take a 15-13 before Ces Molina stopped the bleeding and forced a tight duel. 

Asaka put Kurashiki on the verge of victory, 22-20, but the bench players of Cignal, Acuña and Basas scored three straight points to steal the lead, 23-22. Backup spiker Saki Tanabe restored the order for the Japanese team with back-to-back crucial attacks to reach match point, 24-23, followed by a costly attack error from Acuña.


Molina was the lone bright spot for the HD Spikers with 12 points, 10 digs, and eight receptions. But the Kurashiki coach was still impressed by Rachel Anne Daquis’ game despite only scoring five in the first two sets and setter Gel Cayuna, who had 15 excellent sets.

“The setter is good and Rachel is not only beautiful but also good at playing,” said Hideo.

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Cignal will have two days to rest before facing Kinh Bac-Bac Ninh of Vietnam on Thursday.


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TAGS: Cignal HD Spikers, Japan, PVL

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