Dutch star scorer proud of team despite missing Olympics

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Netherlands’ Nimir Abdel Aziz in the VNL 2024.–MARLO CUETO/INQUIRER.net

MANILA, Philippines — Nimir Abdel-Aziz’s greatest scoring nights went for naught after the Netherlands ended up winless in Manila to cap its Volleyball Nations League (VNL) season.

Abdel-Aziz scored another 37-point explosion highlighted by six aces but the Netherlands fell to Canada in five sets,  21-25, 25-22, 28-26, 14-25, 15-9, on Saturday at Mall of Asia Arena.

The Dutch star emerged as the league’s top scorer with a total of 284 points built on 235 spikes, 40 aces, and nine blocks. He was the only VNL player to score 30-plus points in five matches. 

But he’s not thinking about his scoring tear as all he wanted was to give his best for his team. 

“I just try to do my best like all the teams. We wanted to fight, we wanted to give our best. And I really don’t care about the individual points because I am just proud of the team and how we stood on the court,” said Abdel-Aziz, who averaged 29.8 points in four games in Manila.

The Netherlands lost all four games in Manila, missing the Final Eight with a 3-9 record to end the VNL season. But Abdel-Aziz remained proud of his teammates.

“I think we had a good fight, we gave everything. It was not enough but I am proud of the team [despite] not qualifying for the Olympics and everything. We continued to fight so we did great,” he said. “It’s our third year in a row. Every year, [we’re] improving. This year was great, so I think it’s only gonna get better.”

The 32-year-old Abdel-Aziz admitted that some of the Dutch players are retiring after the VNL, passing the torch to the young guns.

“We will see what’s gonna happen in the next year because I think some of us won’t be there anymore. So, it’s also time for some young generation guys. So we’ll see how they will develop and how they can continue to reach a higher level,” he said.

Despite the winless Manila stint, the scoring machine expressed his gratitude to Filipino fans for supporting them.

“The thing for us volleyball players, it’s one of the best places to play because the fans are here, they are supporting everybody. So, it’s not just the home crowds like in other venues,” Abdel-Aziz said. “Here, we feel support from everybody, every game, doesn’t matter who we play. Maybe a little less against Japan but for the rest, we feel a lot [of support], so it feels great to play here.”



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