Blue Eagles, Bulldogs collide in early Finals rematch
ABS-CBN Sports on Feb 08, 2017 01:27 AM
Ateneo de Manila seeks to capture its second straight win.
Expect fireworks Wednesday when three-peat seeking Ateneo de Manila clash with archrival National University in an early rematch of last year’s championship showdown in the 79th UAAP men’s volleyball tournament at The Arena in San Juan.
At stake in the 10:00 a.m. match that will air over ABS-CBN S+A Channel 23, ABS-CBN HD Channel 166 and via livestream is a continued hold of the lead.
The Blue Eagles and Bulldogs are on a four-way tie with other opening day winners Far Eastern University and University of the Philippines.
Reigning three-time Most Valuable Player Marck Espejo led Ateneo in a dominating 25-23, 25-14, 25-18, win over the University of Sto. Tomas last Saturday.
Aside from Espejo, who had 13 points last game, the Katipunan-based squad will also bank on veteran setter Ish Polvorosa, 6-foot-8 Russian-American Tony Koyfman and graduating players Josh Villanueva and Rex Intal against NU, which Ateneo defeated in two straight UAAP title showdowns and in the V-League Collegiate Conference.
But Blue Eagle coach Oliver Almadro is not taking the Bulldogs lightly.
“Yes medyo may advantage because hindi pa nila kami natatalo for quite a while but it’ also an added baggage for us eh na they haven’t win yet (against us). They’re really eyeing for us, mahirap maging complacent,” said Almadro. “We really have to be one step ahead all the time.”
“Intact ang team nila and it’s the same team. Ganoon pa rin powerful pa rin ang NU,” he added.
The Bulldogs are coming off an easy win against University of the East, 25-23, 25-10, 25-19, in their opener.
Bryan Bagunas, who had 22 points the last time out, Season 78 Rookie of the Year and Francis Saura are all expected to step up to try and end their head-to-head losing skid against Ateneo.
Meanwhile, Far Eastern University is also looking to collect its second straight win when the Tamaraws take on Adamson at 8:00 a.m.
FEU dismantled De La Salle, 25-16, 25-19, 26-24, last Sunday behind Greg Dolor amd Jude Garcia, who scored 15 and 12, respectively.
Adamson, on the other hand, came from a sorry five-set loss against University of the Philippines, 26-24, 20-25, 33-31, 25-27, 10-15.
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