Bryan Bagunas came through for Oita Miyoshi Weisse Adler as they opened their 2021-22 Japan V. League Division 1 campaign with a hard-earned 25-19, 25-20, 21-25, 28-26 win over the Osaka Sakai Blazers at the Nippon Steel Sakai Gymnasium on Saturday (16 October).
Bagunas, one of the finest products of Philippine volleyball, scored a game-high 22 points built on 17 attacks, four blocks and an ace for a rousing start to his third season with the Weisse Adler, who are looking to bounce back from a 3-33 record last season.
Emerson Rodriguez, the newest reinforcement of Oita Miyoshi, made a huge splash in his team debut as he put up 19 points, while Kota Yamada shouldered the offensive load with 16 of his own.
With Bagunas, Rodriguez and Yamada at the forefront of the scoring thrust, the Weisse Adler seized control right from the opening whistle en route to a two-set lead.
While the Blazers managed to tip the scales to their favor in the third set and even threatened to extend the match in the fourth, Oita Miyoshi showcased composure down the stretch to seal the deal.
The Weisse Adler and Sakai Blazers will face once more on Sunday.
Ohmer Bautista is a sports journalist who has covered local and international sporting events in the Philippines. The views expressed are his own.