Blue Eagles sweep Round 1 for first time after downing rival Green Spikers

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Mar 04, 2017 11:54 AM
Blue Eagles sweep Round 1 for first time
HISTORY. Re-asserting its reign over UAAP Men's Volleyball, Ateneo has just swept the first round for the very first time.

Ateneo de Manila University has done something in the 79th Season of the UAAP Men’s Volleyball Tournament it has not done in its championship runs in the past two years.

Veterans Marck Espejo and Rex Intal fronted the charge as the Blue Eagles blanked archrival De La Salle University, 25-21, 25-21, and 25-18, on Saturday at the MOA Arena to complete a sweep of the first round.

The three-time MVP was on-point from the get-go to allow Ateneo to take control early on.

Still, the Green Spikers kept the contest close and were only down 20-21 in the first and 21-22 in the second before Espejo and Intal finished off the sets for the Blue Eagles.

The third set would not be as tight as Ateneo’s 5-1 finishing kick eventually ended as a seventh straight win to start the season. Talking about his and his team’s historic feat, head coach Oliver Almadro said, “Yes, this (first round sweep) is the first time in our history, but we should not be overwhelmed because the job is not yet done.”

In their championship runs in the past two years, the Blue Eagles were unable to keep their slate clean in the first round.

Even with the historic feat, however, Almadro remained focused on the bigger picture. “We really want to push it more in the second round,” he said.

That means the fiery mentor wants more from veterans Espejo and Intal who wound up with 15 and 12 points, respectively.

American Tony Koyfman added 12 markers of his own and Ateneo took full advantage of their opponents’ 31 errors.

Arjay Onia was the lone player in double-digits for DLSU with 11 points. Still without top gun Raymark Woo, they ended the first round at 2-5.

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