Espejo leads MVP race in UAAP men's volleyball

Mark Escarlote on Mar 03, 2016 10:47 AM
Espejo leads MVP race in UAAP men's volleyball
Marck Espejo of Ateneo de Manila could be on his way to a third Most Valuable Player award.

Ateneo de Manila’s Marck Espejo is making a strong bid for a third straight Most Valuable Player award after topping the rest of the field in two skills categories at the end of the 78th UAAP men’s volleyball tournament first round of eliminations.

After seven games through the season, the third year hitter led the defending champion Blue Eagles to a 6-1 win-loss record tied with Adamson Falcons and along the way accumulated a total of 130 points to take the no. 1 spot in the Best Scorer category.

Espejo, who also won the Rookie of the Year award two years ago, had 107 spikes, 11 kill blocks and 12 service aces to edge De La Salle’s Raymark Woo by a slim margin. Woo, who returned to the Green Spikers after sitting out last year’s contest because of a knee injury, had 127 points (114 kills, 6 kill blocks, 7 aces) followed by University of the Philippines ace Wendel Miguel’s 122 (105-11-6), John Onia of DLSU’s 97 (79-11-7) and Season 77 RoY Edward Camposano of University of the East’s 93 (68-17-8).

The 18-year-old Espejo is also the most efficient attacker with a 53.50% success rate to lead the Best Spiker race, which he won last season, ahead of National University trio of rookie James Natividad (46.21%), Bryan Bagunas (43.03%) and Madzlan Gampong (41.96%) while Adamson’s Bryan Saraza occupied the fifth spot with 41.44% success rate.

Kim Malabunga of NU could inherit the Best Blocker award won by his former teammate Peter Torres last year, leading the race with an average of 0.82 per set. Tied in second to third spot are Gian San Pascual of UP and Camposano with 0.74 norms per frame followed by Adamson’s Dave Pletado (0.71) and University of Sto. Tomas’ Patrick Balse (0.63).

Manuel Medina of UST leads the race for the Best Server award with an average of 0.50 per set but lurking closely behind is Espejo (0.48), Natividad (0.41), John Millete of UP (0.37) and Camposano (0.37).

Graduating NU playmaker Vince Mangulabnan could also be on his way to a back-to-back Best Setter award with an average of 8.23 excellent sets per frame. Last year’s Finals MVP Ish Polovorosa is second (8.04) while Adamson’s Karlle Ramirez (6.54), Ronchette Villegas of Far Eastern University (6.44) and Charles Acuna of UP (4.89) round up the top five.

In the defensive skills race, Rence Melgar of Adamson could lose his Best Digger and Best Receiver titles he won last year as he was left out of the top 10 in the contest.

Ateneo’s Manuel Sumanguid and Ricky Santos of NU share the top spot in the Best Digger category with an average of 2.68 digs per set ahead of Jopet Movido of De La Salle (2.31), John Nasol of UP (2.22) and Rikko Marmerto of FEU (1.56), who is leading the Best Receiver contest.

Marmeto has a 46.72% efficiency rating to best Santos (40.51), Movido (35), Sumanguid (33.10) and the only spiker in the bunch Espejo (32.89)



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