Another stellar Nimir Abdel-Aziz showing ends in loss

The Netherlands' Nimir Abdel-Aziz during a VNL 2024 Week 3 game in Manila

The Netherlands’ Nimir Abdel-Aziz during a VNL 2024 Week 3 game in Manila. -MARLO CUETO/

MANILA, Philippines — Another offensive masterpiece of Nimir Abdel-Aziz went for naught as the Netherlands remained winless in Manila in the Volleyball Nations League (VNL) Week 3.

Abdel-Aziz unleashed 37 points but the Netherlands absorbed its second straight loss to Iran, 25-22, 22-25, 25-21, 20-25, 15-10, on Thursday at Mall of Asia Arena.

The Dutch star, who poured in 38 points in their Week 3 opener loss to Brazil two days ago, had another frustrating night as they remained out of the Final Eight picture with a 3-7 record in 13th place.

VNL 2024 SCHEDULE: Week 3 Manila, Philippines leg

Netherlands coach Roberto Piazza, speaking for Abdel-Aziz, said his player won the battle but Amin Esmaeilnezhad, who led Iran with 29 points for their second straight win, led his triumphant in the war.

“Nimir, he played a good game, but suddenly, Amin played better than Nimir. So, we have to respect that way,” said Piazza of Abdel-Aziz, who fired 27 attacks, nine aces, and a block.

“I have to be honest, I feel bad because we lost against Iran. It was also our leader’s task to keep alive the dream to be in Paris 2024, so I cannot be happy. Of course, they deserve a victory in the end, so I need to say to them ‘bravo’ and I need to think about our next two games,” he added.

READ: VNL 2024: Iran makes it back to back, beats Netherlands in 5 sets

Piazza urges his wards to play better as they hope to collect points to qualify for the Paris Olympics with two VNL games remaining against Japan on Friday and Canada on Saturday.

“I already spoke with the guys. There’s no other thing to do — we have to think about us, about to show how it’s possible to stay in the game. Also, when you have nothing to [lose], the only thing that you can do is to score [world ranking] points for the team,” said the Netherlands coach.

Gijs Jorna and Silvester Meijs seek to make the most of their remaining games in Manila.

“I think we have two more games in this amazing atmosphere. We play Japan here, which is going to be great. After we play Canada, which is also doing very good. We have to enjoy it because playing in the Philippines is something special. The fans love us and love volleyball. It’s up for us to enjoy,” Jorna said. “Thank you everybody for coming. We love playing in the Philippines and keep doing what you’re doing.”

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“We kept fighting but we made more mistakes than them today. It’s really simple. And it’s really hard to win,” Meijs added. “You’re really amazing. A lot of noise which we really love, so thank you!”