Sakai upends Suntory to win men’s V-League title

Kyodo

Brazilian attacker Rodrigo Pinto scored a game-high 26 points Saturday to help the Sakai Blazers win the men’s V-League title with a 3-2 victory over the Suntory Sunbirds in Game 3 of the best-of-three final.

News photoThe Sakai Blazers players celebrate after clinching the men’s V-League title with a win over the Suntory Sunbirds in Game 3 of the best-of-three final in Osaka.

Shinya Chiba added 16 points for the Blazers, who bounced back from an opening-game loss to win the title after a 19-25, 25-17, 25-20, 22-25, 15-13 victory in the decisive match at Osaka Municipal Central Gymnasium.

Sakai, third in the regular season, had earlier beat the second-placed NEC Blue Rockets in the first round of the playoffs and went on to upset first-placed Suntory and capture the crown of the top flight in Japanese volleyball.

It was the first title for Sakai, which had previously won the V-League title twice as Nippon Steel Sakai. Blazers captain Chiba was named the Most Valuable Player of the season.