Espejo, Ateneo set eyes on conquering the sands
Mark Escarlote on Sep 28, 2015 03:59 PM
UAAP indoor volleyball back-to-back Most Valuable Player Marck Espejo of Ateneo de Manila will try to carry the Blue Eagles to a breakthrough beach volleyball crown.
Marck Espejo is undeniably one of the country’s best indoor volleyball players.
But can he take on the challenge of the sand court?
The power-hitting Espejo will banner the defending indoor volleyball champion Ateneo de Manila Blue Eagles’ campaign in the 78th UAAP beach volleyball tournament set to start on October 9 at SM Sands by the Bay.
Fresh from leading the Blue Eagles to the Spikers’ Turf Collegiate Conference title last Sunday in an incredible 13-game tournament sweep, the Conference Most Valuable Player will team up with 2011 UAAP beach volley Rookie of the Year Ysay Marsigan and reserve Karl Baysa.
Espejo, the UAAP back-to-back indoor volleyball MVP, admitted that it will be his first time to play competitive beach volleyball and learning the ropes of running on sand, for him, is a bit tricky.
“Hindi pa ako nakaka-experience ng beach volleyball ngayon pa lang, first time. Mahirap yung adjustment,” said Espejo minutes after the Blue Eagles muzzled the National University Bulldogs in Game 2 of the Spikers’ Turf championship.
He said that he has yet to get the grip of playing on an unstable court where he has to rely on his vertical leap to attack.
“Iba kasi kapag indoor kasi nakaka-long jump ako, sa beach volleyball parang vertical jump lang and kailangan lalapit ka talaga sa bola,” he said.
“Parang sobrang hirap lang sa akin. Nasanay kasi ako sa indoor na kailangan malayo ako sa bola para makabuwelo,” Espejo added.
“It’s about time na mahirapan naman siya,” said Ateneo head coach Oliver Almadro pertaining to his prized player that drew a crack of laughter from reporters during the postgame interview.
The mentor said that they started their preparations last week, sneaking a few hours in the sand in between their indoor volleyball practice.
“Yung beach volleyball preparation naman kasi namin nag-start na kami dati,” Almadro said. “Nagpaisa-isa na kami so hindi na bago kay Marck at kay Ysay.”
Though inexperienced at the sands, Almadro is positive that Espejo will help his team be competitive.
“But I guess dadalhin ni Ysay si Marck and si Marck naman madali naman matuto pero sa umpisa talagang nahihirapn pa siya,” he said.
Ateneo will open its campaign against University of the Philippines before clashing with defending champion NU in Day 1 of the 6-playdate tourney.
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