Blue Eagles go for the jugular
Mark Escarlote on Apr 26, 2016 07:43 PM
ONE MORE TIME --- Ateneo de Manila guns to finish off National University in Game 2 of the men's best-of-three Finals.
One more win and the reign of the defending champion Ateneo de Manila will extend their reign for another year.
But closing out a best-of-three series against a very dangerous and tough rival is easier said than done.
Blue Eagles coach Oliver Almadro said that Ateneo won’t be complacent in facing the wounded National University Bulldogs on Wednesday in Game 2 of the 78th UAAP men’s volleyball Finals at the Mall of Asia Arena Arena in Pasay City.
“Yes one more game for a repeat pero mas kailangan namin mag-double effort,” he said. “Mas mahirap ang preparation trying close a series. Kailangan ang teamwork.”
Game time is set at 12:00 noon and will air live over ABS-CBN Sports+Action Channel 23, ABS-CBN Sports+Action HD Channel 166 and via livestream on sports.abs-cbn.com/livestream/uaap.
The Katipunan-based squad drew first blood last Saturday at the Big Dome as the Blue Eagles tamed the Bulldogs, 23-25, 25-20, 25-17, 25-18, behind Marck Espejo’s 21-point explosion.
It is the third straight Finals tussle between the two rivals, splitting the first two showdowns.
After NU completed a sweep of Ateneo in Season 76 Finals, the Blue Eagles won their next seven straight matches since last year.
But Almadro said that they still need to keep their guards up considering the firepower of the Bulldogs build on power-hitters Madzlan Gampong, Ruben Baysac, Kim Malabunga and rookie James Natividad led by seasoned setter Vince Mangulabnan.
“Kailangan tapatan namin ang power nila. Kasi kapag hindi namin natapatan ang power nila kakainin din nila kami,” said Almadro, who called the shots for the national team in last year’s Asian U-23 Championships and 28th Southeast Asian Games.
“Lahat nagde-deliver sa kanila. Kailangan kaming mag-double effort sa defense. They are all powerful,” he added. “Minsan may variation sila pero more on power sila. Kapag hindi namin sila natapatan mahihirapan kami.”
Aside from Espejo, Ateneo will bank on playmaker Ish Polvorosa, who dished out 58 excellent sets in the series opener, outgoing hitter Ysay Marasigan, Rex Intal and Joshua Villanueva.
Game 3, if necessary, is on Saturday.
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