Ateneo takes UPís best shot, still comes out unscathed

Ateneo takes UPís best shot, still comes out unscathed
KINGS OF KATIPUNAN. Thanks to newcomer Tony Koyfman, Ateneo got the better of neighboring UP.

Ateneo de Manila University was in a closer contest than it expected on Sunday at the San Juan Arena and top gun Marck Espejo was having a relatively quiet game by his standards.

And still, the two-time defending champions had more than enough to pull off a sixth straight win to start the UAAP 79 Men’s Volleyball Tournament.

Behind Tony Koyfman’s breakout game, the Blue Eagles powered through daring University of the Philippines in straight sets, 25-18, 26-24, and 25-16.

Newcomer Koyfman turned in his best game of the tournament thus far with 16 points. “Good job for Tony. He worked really hard for it,” coach Oliver Almadro said in his post-game conference.

After a dominant first set for Ateneo, however, the Fighting Maroons still kept coming in the second set and were even at set point, 24-23, before committing a service error. “UP gave us a good fight today especially in the second set,” Almadro said.

With the tally tied at 24, Espejo then had back-to-back hits to seize the second set for the Blue Eagles. They would not be threatened again in the third set.

Even with a character win that improved them to 6-0, however, Almadro was not satisfied. “Sana, makabawi kami nang maganda-gandang game,” he said after his boys only counted two players in double-digits and had 22 errors.

Espejo backstopped Koyfman with 12 points.

On the other hand, Mark Millete had 15 points to lead UP in the losing effort. At 3-2, they fell back into a three-way tie for third-place.

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Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.

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