• Kyodo

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Sheilla Castro nailed a game-high 31 points and Paula Pequeno followed with 22 as Brazil successfully defended its World Grand Prix title in women’s volleyball with a 3-2 victory over Italy on Monday.

Brazil, which allowed Italy to come back from a set down twice, jumped to leads of 5-0 and 8-1 in the final set and sealed its fifth World Grand Prix crown with a score of 25-20, 22-25, 25-21, 27-29, 15-7 at Sendai Gymnasium. Nadia Centoni had a team-high 29 points for the Italians, who survived three match points before taking the fourth set but were eventually denied a first title at the annual competition. In Monday’s other games, Cuba downed the Netherlands 25-20, 25-22, 25-20 and Athens Olympic champion China beat host Japan 25-23, 25-22, 25-23. Italy took second in the final standings ahead of China in third and Cuba in fourth based on the ratio of points won to points lost. Japan came fifth with the Netherlands finishing at the bottom on the same tiebreaking formula.

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