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Saturday, April 20, 2024

The Filipinos’ growing love for volleyball

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No Philippine Team.

No Problem.

Even in the absence of local competitors, Filipino volleyball fans come in droves to watch, cheer, and adore their favorite foreign players in the Week 3-Philippine leg of the Volleyball Nations League (VNL) at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.

After basketball, volleyball is the most watched sporting event among Filipino sports fans.

A visiting fan from Japan said: “This is the first time I come to the Philippines to watch volleyball games. I want to see this country because last year volleyball games in the Philippines are very popular. People like volleyball games very much. It touches my heart.”

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Fans show their support to their teams-win or lose—and wait for them at the fans’ corner to have their photos with their favorite players.

Japan is among the teams that gained a big following among Pinoy fans who came in throng to support the team against China on the opening day.

A big Filipino crowd came to watch as Kento Miyaura ended a closely fought contest by scoring match point in the fifth set for Japan in one of the opening games that kicked off the start of Week 3 of the Volleyball Nations League (VNL) at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.

The fans cheered loudly as Japan went on to upend China, following Kento Miyaura’s final attack that handed the Japanese their ninth straight overall win.

That big win gave Japan the first slot in the prestigious league’s grand finals set in Gdansk, Poland.

Japan is attracting young Filipino followers, since it is currently the top-ranked Asian squad playing in Manila, next to the world’s top squads like Poland and Italy.

In that game Yuki Ishikawa struck with 19 points for Japan, and in a match which Japan has remained unbeaten since winning three straight matches during Week 2 in Orleans, France.

Filipino fans are loving every game of the Manila leg in the VNL 2023, considering that the world’s top volleyball teams are in the country.

Among them is world no. 1 Poland and Italy, no. 2 in the FIVB world rankings.

Poland showed class and struck down Brazil’s formidable frontline game for a 29-31, 21-25, 25-20, 25-20, 15-13 beating on Friday. Also drawing in a crowd is Italy, which is no. 2 in the FIVB world rankings.

In winning or losing, the Filipinos show their support to their favorite volleyball players on and off the court.

Italy fended off a gritty challenge from Canada, 25-14, 23-25, 25-20, 23-25, 15-9, with Alessandro Michieletto showing the way with 18 points on 14 hits.

Some of the most admired players are Poland’s Wilfredo Leon Venero, Bartosz Kurek and Bartosz Berdnoz; Brazil’s Alan Souza, Ricardo Souza and Henrique Honorato; Italy’s Yuri Romano, Daniel Lavia and Alessandro Michieletto; Slovenia’s Klemns Cebulj and Tine Urnaut and Japan’s Kento Miyaura and Akihiro Yamauchi; The Netherlands’ Wouter Termaat and Canada’s Ralph Joseph Sclater and Nicholas Hoag.

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