USA downs Brazil for first win in Manila

USA downs Brazil for first win in Manila
WINNER. After losing its first game, USA bounced back with a win against Brazil. / CONTRIBUTED

Crowd darling USA wasted no time making up for its foiled Manila debut by fending off former champion Brazil, 25-21, 18-25, 25-21, 22-25, 15-9, in the Volleyball Nations League (VNL) Men’s Week 3 on June 20, 2024 at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.

USA prey to Iran’s breakthrough on Tuesday, 28-26, 23-25, 25-18, 28-26, 13-15, but wasn’t to be denied in its second try to finally gift the Filipino fans a sweet victory.

The Americans dropped five answered points in the fifth set to break the game wide open at 11-6 highlighted by back-to-back aces of middle blocker Maxwell Holt en route to the win.

World No. 6 USA, already with a sure ticket in the Paris Olympics, hiked its mark to 4-6 but still has a lot of ground to cover at 12th with only two games to go in homestretch the stacked VNL cast featuring 16 teams.

TJ De Falco fired 21 points while Holt, Matt Anderson and Taylor Averill had 15, 13 and 11 points, respectively, to lead USA’s revenge.

“We’re feeling better compared to last night. We had a handful of hard conversations and just man, a lot of credit for this team for the resilience and the response we showed tonight against a very good Brazil team,” said captain and ace setter Micah Christenson.

Brazil, despite the 26 points of Alan Souza, stayed at fourth place with a 6-4 slate as only the top eight teams will qualify in the Final Round next week in Poland.

Earlier, Iran continued its giant-killing ways with another gusty win against the Netherlands, 25-22, 22-25, 25-21, 20-25, 15-10, behind the tag team of Amin Esmaeilnez and Poriya Hossein Firouzjah.

Esmaeilnez and Firouzjah hammered 29 and 27 points, respectively, as Iran followed up on its massive breakthrough stunner against USA, 26-28, 25-23, 25-18, 26-28, 15-13, to improve at 2-8 albeit already out of contention.

Team captain Milad Ebadipour chipped in contributed 13 points on 12 attacks and an ace for world No 17 Iran.

“It was great. The atmosphere, we’re really so excited to play in one of the best countries for volleyball, for the fans you know, it’s great. It’s a great experience for us. And I hope, all season, all year, they follow volleyball,” Milad said.

The Netherlands, world No. 13, fell to 3-7 at 13thplace.

Canada also stayed perfect in Manila with a 25-19, 25-18, 25-21 win over Germany to fortify its spot at No. 5 after pulling off a 25-21, 20-25, 25-15, 20-25, 15-10 win in the opener against Japan.

Stephen Maarand and Arthur Szwarc tallied 15 points each as Eric Loeppky added 11 points for the world No. 9 Canadians, who improved to 6-4.

“I think we did a good job in serving and passing today. Our team had pretty flawless volleyball. Germany fought the good fight at the end, but we handled it really well so I’m for the team,” said Maar.

World No. 11 Germany, which stunned France with a 25-23, 25-27, 25-20, 25-23 on Wednesday, took a costly defeat to slide to 4-6 at 11th place despite Moritz Karlitzek’s 13 points.

USA takes a breather before going up against Germany at 11 a.m. on Saturday. / PR

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