Towering Jaja Santiago dropped 12 points as the Ageo Medics bowed to Toray Red Arrows in four sets, 21-25, 17-25, 25-14, 22-25, in the 2018-2019 Japanese V.Premiere League, yesterday at the Ukaruchan Arena in Otsu.
The 6-foot-5 middle blocker connected 10-out-of-17 attacks for a 58.82 percent success rate in spikes, a block and an ace in a losing effort as the Medics absorbed a season sweep from the Arrows.
With their backs against the wall, the Santiago-led squad displayed grit and grind in the last two frames, bagging the third set in dominant fashion and keeping in pace with Toray in the fourth, 21-all, before the latter stepped on the gas down the last ticks of the match.
The Saitama-based squad snapped a four-game winning streak for a 10-8 card in the Eastern Conference.
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Fellow import Katarina Barun tallied 24 kills and two blocks for game-high 26 markers for Ageo, who tied the win-loss record of NEC Red Rockets and placed second in the Eastern Conference of the league.
Jana Kulan scored 23 hits built on 21 kills and a couple of blocks for Toray, who improved to a 11-7 slate in the Western Conference.
The Medics had the slight edge in attacks, 60-56, while producing the same numbers of service aces with three aces apiece but the Arrows’s big blocking game, 4-13, spelled the doom for the losing team.
Santiago and the Medics wilk try to bounce back and secure a Final 8 berth when they take on Okayama Seagulls on February 17 at 2 p.m.