Tokyo, Japan, May 28, 2016 – Japan overcame their first set loss and bounced back to complete a 3-1 (26-28, 25-20, 25-19, 25-19) win over Venezuela at the Men’s World Olympic Qualification Tournament at Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium on Saturday.
Kunihiro Shimizu, who powered the Japanese comeback, finished with 21 points, including 16 attacks, one block and four service aces. Yuki Ishikawa contributed 19 points and Masahiro Yanagida scored a total of 15 markers for the Japanese victory. Kervin Martin Pinerua top scored for Venezuela with 17 points.
Pinerua led Venezuela by charting six points in the first set. His attack from the right flank gave them a two-point edge at the second technical timeout, but Japan patiently worked on their offence and succeeded when they took the lead 21-20 from two excellent plays. Both sides exchanged leads in the tight scuffle but Venezuela eventually pulled through with a 28-26 win. In the second set, Japan got an 8-4 headstart but Pinerua and Gonzalez powered Venezuela to grab the lead. However, Venezuela could not hold on to their advantage and Japan seized the second set victory 25-20.
Japan coped in the third and fourth sets with Shimizu leading the attack and his team-mates taking care of the defence. They established a better counter-attacking scheme, which allowed them to have a more comfortable lead at the end of each set. Japan got inspired by the loud cheers of their home fans and ensured a wide-enough gap to close each set at 25-19.