Kento Miyaura steps up for Takahashi-less Japan in crucial win

Kento Miyaura steps up for Takahashi-less Japan in crucial win

/ 11:24 AM June 23, 2024

Japan Kento Miyaura VNL

Japan’s Kento Miyaura celebrates during a game against France in the VNL.–MARLO CUETO/

MANILA, Philippines — Kento Miyaura stepped up when it mattered most for depleted Japan as he provided the spark off the bench to book a ticket to the Volleyball Nations League (VNL) Final Eight.

After missing Ran Takahashi due to a nagging injury, Japan suffered another blow as Yuji Nishida needed to be subbed out early in the second set due to abdominal pain but Miyaura showed his next-man-up mentality to rise from two sets down and stun Olympic champion France, 17-25, 19-25, 25-16, 25-23, 15-10, on Saturday evening before an ecstatic 11,879 fans at Mall of Asia Arena.

The 25-year-old spiker dropped 19 points off 16 attacks, two aces, and a block, expressing his gratitude to the Filipino fans, who inspired him to unleash his breakout game in Manila.


READ: VNL 2024: Yuki Ishikawa, Japan rally past Olympic champion France

“Sometimes this kind of situation [happens] but we were able to keep our concentration and Philippine fans pushing a lot for us. It’s a nice atmosphere,” Miyaura said.

Miyaura conspired with captain Yuki Ishikawa, who erupted for 33 points, as they delivered the finishing blows in the fifth set for an improved 8-3 record to secure their entry to the final round in Poland.

He believes that tough games like this will help them prepare for the Final Eight and the 2024 Paris Olympics.

“I can’t believe [we won] this match because it was so difficult match but I’m so happy to win and also it will be helping us for the Olympics,” said Miyaura, who plays in the French pro league.


READ: VNL 2024: Japan bounces back with sweep of Netherlands

Japan coach Philippe Blain lauded Miyaura and his wards for showing a never-give-up attitude against the 2022 VNL champions amid the absence of their stars. 

“In the first two sets, France played so good, making no mistakes, [and had a] great defense. We just kept on fighting. In these kinds of moments, we have to stay patient and try to stay inside the match. And fortunately from the third set, [our] substitution [worked] and controlled a bit more of the game,” Blain said. “It was a very tough match and I’m very proud of how my team stayed calm with their minds. It was a great experience tonight and I hope it will be very useful for [future] tournaments.”


Miyaura vows to stay ready for Japan as it wraps up its VNL Manila campaign against fellow fan-favorite USA on Sunday at 7 p.m.

“We are prepared for the next match. And it will be tougher,” he said.

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TAGS: Japan, VNL

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