Japan celebrates win in VNL Week 2 in Manila.

Japan celebrates win in VNL Week 2 in Manila. –CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines — Sarina Koga unloaded 21 points as Japan dominated Thailand, 25-22, 25-16, 25-14, to stay unbeaten in seven games in the Volleyball Nations League (VNL) Week 2 on Friday at Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Koga, a star of NEC Red Rockets in Japan V.League, fired 18 attacks and nailed three blocks, and had 11 digs to give the Japanese their third win in the Quezon City leg.

The Japanese skipper stressed that her team will continue to work hard, amid their winning run. She also expressed her gratitude to the Filipino fans who were cheering for both Asian powerhouse teams.

“We will try to make it one strong team and keep everybody together,” said Koga through an interpreter. “I appreciate the Filipino crowd watching our match. I like their support.”

Arisa Inoue delivered 17 points including two blocks as she conspired with Koga, combining for 33 of Japan’s 49 attack points.

Kotona Hayashi and Mami Yokoya added seven markers each, as setter Nanami Seki made the brilliant plays.

“Our training for attackers worked. I was sharing the ball for our attackers and I have options,” said Seki through an interpreter.

Thailand, which was stricken by COVID-19, lost back-to-back matches including a five-set loss to Poland on Thursday.

Chatchu-on Moksri lifted the Thais anew with 11 points, 13 receptions, and 10 digs. Ajcharaporn Kongyot had 10 points, nine digs, and six receptions, while Pimpichaya Kokram added eight as they fell to 4-3 in the No.6 spot.

Japan wraps up its VNL Philippine leg against China on Sunday at 7 p.m., while Thailand takes on defending champion USA at 3 p.m.

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