Blue Eagles a win away from outright Finals berth

Mark Escarlote on Apr 01, 2017 12:53 PM
Blue Eagles a win away from outright Finals berth
Marck Espejo led Ateneo de Manila to its 13th straight win.

Title-holder Ateneo de Manila is now one win away from an outright Finals berth.

The Blue Eagles stormed past De La Salle University, 25-22, 25-20, 25-21, and inched closer to an automatic best-of-three championship series seat with their 13th straight win Saturday in the 79th UAAP men’s volleyball tournament at the Mall of Asia Arena.  

Three-time Most Valuable Player Marck Espejo showed an amazing display of power and accuracy, scoring 15 points in an 11-of-17 spiking clip to give the Blue Eagles a 13-0 win-loss record and their 27th win in a row since last season.

Tony Koyfman finished with 12 points while Josh Villanueva and skipper Karl Baysa scored 11 and 10 markers, respectively, for the Katipunan-based squad.

The Blue Eagles victory also formally eliminated the Green Spikers for the last semis spot race.

Ateneo will close the elims on April 8 against National University (11-1) in a match that will decide if Ateneo will march straight in the Finals and force a stepladder semis or play in the usual Final Four format.

“Sa totoo lang hindi na namin iniintindi kung may talo kami o walang talo. What’s important for us is to be in the Finals again and get an opportunity to be champions again,” said Ateneo coach Oliver Almadro.

The Blue Eagles unleashed 47 kills and nailed 10 service aces.

No DLSU player reached double-figure scoring with Cris Dumago, Arjay Onia and Joshua Jose logging in eight points each for the 4-9 Taft-based squad.

 

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