Blue Eagles extend winning run to five
Mark Escarlote on Mar 05, 2016 01:52 PM
Reigning back-to-back MVP Marck Espejo of Ateneo de Manila tests the defense of Far Eastern University.
The defending champion Ateneo de Manila struggled to control the number of errors it committed but in the end eked out a five set win over the Far Eastern University Tamaraws, 19-25, 25-23, 24-26, 25-21, 15-11, Saturday in the 78th UAAP men’s volleyball tournament at The Arena in San Juan.
The veteran trio of reigning back-to-back Most Valuable Player Marck Espejo, Ysay Marasigan and Rex Intal carried the Blue Eagles in the fifth set, coming up with the needed points to thwart the Tams’ comeback attempt.
Ateneo extended its winning run to five games to remain on top spot with 7-1 win-loss record after completing an elimination round sweep over FEU which the Blue Eagles defeated in straight sets a month ago.
The Blue Eagles escaped with the victory despite committing 39 errors mostly from the service line.
Espejo started out sluggish and was benched by head coach Oliver Almadro for most of the second set before finding his rhythm to score 18 points, 15 coming from attacks, with 16 excellent receives for Ateneo.
“Mayroon kaming mga mistakes sa simula pero good thing nakabalik si Marck. Pinaghandaan talaga si Marck ng FEU,” said Almadro. “But I guess good thing Ysay and Ish (Polovorosa) pati si Josh (Villanueva) dinala nila yung game nu’ng wala sina Rex (Intal) at Marck nag-step up ‘yung tatlo.”
Watch Almadro's post-game interview here:
#UAAPSeason78Volleyball (m): Ateneo head coach Oliver Almadro's post-game interview after the Blue Eagles defeated FEU in five setsPosted by ABS-CBN Sports on Friday, March 4, 2016
Villanueva had 16 points while Marasigan finished with 15 markers with his last point sealing the two-hour, 20-minute showdown from a combination play in the middle. Karl Baysa had 13 while Intal got 11 for the Katipunan-based squad.
The Blue Eagles were able take control the decider, racing to a 12-6 lead before FEU mounted a rally to close the gap, 12-10.
Marasigan extinguished the Tams’ run with a down the line kill and an attack error by FEU pushed Ateneo at match point. The Tams saved a match point before Marasigan’s combination kill.
The Tams’ three-game winning run came to a halt after absorbing their third loss in eight matches.
Greg Dolor had 16 points, Jude Garcia finished with 15, Jeric Gacutan got 13 while JP Bugaoan chipped in 11 in a losing effort for FEU.
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