OLYMPIC champion France defeated Germany, 25-16, 25-19, 19-25, 25-21, to sweep the Quezon City leg of the Volleyball Nations League (VNL) on Sunday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
But on top of the sweep, it was the Filipino hospitality and enthusiasm on the game that pleased and amazed the world No. 3 French.
“It’s the first time I discovered the Philippines and it’s really nice to play here. The experience is fantastic,” said Tokyo Olympian Stephen Boyer, who posted 16 points and six digs in their fourth win on Philippine soil. “We’re hoping that we inspired the Filipinos with our performance.”
Despite struggling in the third set, the French, who only lost to World No. 1 Poland in Week 1 last June 12 in Ottawa, Canada, had a steady performance in the fourth set to claim the important win witnessed by more than 7,000 fans who grew to more than 10,000 later in the day.
“It’s always good to win. It’s not the best way but it’s okay. We have to restart in the fourth set and the most important is the victory. We are going to rest and travel. Our next stop is our games in Japan and just continue to go on our way,” he added.
Tokyo Olympics Most Valuable Player Earvin N’ Gapeth returned with 18 points on top of two blocks, nine digs and four receptions after one match rest against crowd-favorite Japan, as the French spikers improved to a league best 7-1 record.
Japan, meanwhile, pulled off a 25-21, 22-25, 25-18, 25-19 victory over Slovenia to cap its Quezon City stint with a 3-1 record also on Sunday.
The Slovenians rallied from a 17-22 hole in the second set with an 8-0 run capped by a Rok Mozic’s powerful kill to level the match.
“We lost a set…we didn’t attack,” Yuki Ishikawa said through an interpreter.
Japan, which lost to France in the Tokyo Games final last August, pulled its act together behind Ishikawa, Yuji Nishida and Kentaro Takahashi to return home with a 6-2 record overall,.
“The result is okay, we did get three points,” said Ishikawa, who led his team with 21 points on three service aces, eight digs and seven receptions.
Tatsu Otsuka hammered 13 kills with 10 receptions and eight digs, while Nishida had two service aces to finish with 12 points with eight digs and seven receptions. Mozic led Slovenia with 20 points including two blocks and six receptions, Toncek Stern added 16 points, while skipper Tine Urnaut had 11 points, six receptions and four digs.
Slovenia fell in a tie with Germany with a 3-5 card in the event that has Mikasa, Ganten, Gerflor and Senoh as global sponsors and global suppliers, PLDT Home as presenting partner, Rebisco, MG Philippines, TOP Speed Insurance, Asics and Maynilad as official sponsors, Havas Ortega, The Look Company, Summit Outdoor Media, Marketing Media Ventures, Strong Media Advertising Solutions. 91.5 Win Radio, Philippine Olympic Committee, Philippine Sports Commission, City of Taguig, Quezon City and F2 Logistics as official suppliers.
Date: June 27, 2022 | By: Josef Ramos | Newspaper: Business Mirror | Source: https://businessmirror.com.ph/2022/06/26/olympic-champ-france-wields-broom/