Blue Eagles trample Tams, a win away from the title
Marck Espejo of Ateneo de Manila University wins the joust against Far Eastern University's Owen Suarez.
Ateneo de Manila University inched closer to claiming the inaugural Premier Volleyball League Collegiate Conference men’s division title after sweeping Far Eastern University, 25-22, 25-20, 25-19, in Game 1 of their best-of-three Finals series Wednesday at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan.
The Blue Eagles started out slow but found their rhythm just in time for quick work of the Tamaraws, who dropped a four-set decision against Ateneo in their elimination round meeting.
Game 2 is on Saturday at 1:00 p.m. and will air via livestream. Game 3, if needed, is on Monday.
“Sabi ko nga naman yung energy ng FEU yun ang bread and butter nila. They live and die with their energy, with their intensity,” said Ateneo coach Oliver Almadro. “So if we will match up with that intensity magkakaroon ng magandang game. I guess yun na muna ang sinabi ko sa mga players ko.”
Gian Glorioso led the three-time UAAP champions with 15 points while four-time UAAP Most Valuable Player Marck Espejo was all over the stat sheet with 14 points off 11 attacks, two aces and a kill block while adding 12 excellent receptions and five digs.
FEU kept the game close in each set, using fast plays to disrupt the defense of Ateneo. But the Blue Eagles were able to adjust in time to silence the Tams.
“We have to level up with their intensity and nu’ng lumevel up kami medyo gumanda-ganda ang galaw and they tried to force fast plays sa amin,” Almadro said. “Noong una medyo nanibago but of course through little rallies nakukuha naman. But what’s important ay naka-level kami sa intensity ng FEU.”
The Tams were able to take a 13-11 lead in the third set only to see the Blue Eagles mount a rally to control the frame, 23-18, after Chumason Njigha’s service ace. FEU saved a match point before team captain Karl Baysa scored on an off the block hit capped by a kill block of Espejo off Peter Quiel to seal the victory.
John Paul Bugaoan finished with 13 points while Redijohn Paler got 11 markers for FEU.
Meanwhile, University of Sto. Tomas survived a marathon, 17-25, 28-26, 20-25, 25-21, 27-25, win over National University in their best-of-three battle for third series opener.
Joshua Umandal dropped 28 points while Arnold Bautista and Juren Buro combined for 19 markers for the Tigers.
The Bulldogs, who sat out UAAP beach volleyball bet Bryan Bagunas and James Natividad, got 25 points from Madzlan Gampong and 20 markers from Fauzi Ismail.
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