2017 PSA Mr. Volleyball Espejo hopes to inspire the youth
Siguro ito yung paraan para maging instrument ako na maipakita yung inspiration at motivation sa kanila (kabataan) na kahit sa ganito ako nagsimula dati ngayon ganito ang nakukuha ko, na kaya rin nila -- 2017 PSA Mr. Volleyball Marck Espejo
Four-time UAAP Most Valuable Player Marck Espejo of Ateneo de Manila University sees his recognition as the first-ever Philippine Sportswriters Association’s Mr. Volleyball as a chance to inspire the youth to try and excel in the sport.
The country’s oldest media organization will fete Espejo and other Filipino athletes who brought honor to the country in the year 2017 on Tuesday during their Annual Awards Night at the Maynila Hall of the historic Manila Hotel.
Espejo, whose exceptional skills and talent brought interest in men’s volleyball after serving second fiddle to the more popular women’s play, brought the Blue Eagles to three straight titles including a rare sweep of Season 79.
His exploits made him the hands down choice for the prestigious award given by an organization of sportswriters and editors from the country’ leading broadsheet, tabloids and online publications.
“Personally para sa akin isang karangalan yun, parang sobrang honor sa akin yun,” said the graduating open spiker.
“’Yung award na ‘yun ay para rin sa mga kabataan lalo na sa men’s volleyball kasi yung focus mayroon na rin sa men’s,” he added. “Siguro ito yung paraan para maging instrument ako na maipakita yung inspiration at motivation sa kanila na kahit sa ganito ako nagsimula dati ngayon ganito ang nakukuha ko, na kaya rin nila.”
Espejo is a multi-awarded volleyball player with numerous recognitions from the collegiate and commercial leagues. He was a former member of the national team but skipped a tour of duty in the 2017 selection that saw action in the 29th Southeast Asian Games in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
He averaged 17 points per game heading into the championship round – Ateneo’s fourth straight.
As an all-around player, his numbers were superb. He was hitting 57.62% out of the 328 missiles he hammered to Ateneo’s unfortunate opponents and he’s also in the top 10 in kill blocks, service and service reception proving to be the most versatile player in the league.
The Blue Eagles for the fourth year in a row faced archrival National University in the Finals.
Espejo true to his position as King Eagle, was an unstoppable force in the best-of-three series as he rallied Ateneo to a couple of come-from-behind five-set victories over the Bulldogs to complete a rare grand slam in the first tournament sweep in decades.
The 6-foot-3 hitter’s efforts in the season was rewarded with his fourth straight Most Valuable Player award – the most of any men’s player in the Final Four era – coupled with his third straight Best Attacker award.
He brought his success in the commercial league when Ateneo ruled the inaugural Premier Volleyball League Collegiate Conference at the expense of Far Eastern University.
Espejo bagged the conference and Finals MVP as well as the 1st Best Outside Spiker recognition to add to his individual award collections.
But it is the first time that the 20-year old player will receive such an honor as Mr. Volleyball.
“Normally, nakakakuha ako ng awards sa school pero ‘yung ganitong nationwide, first time ko to,” he said. “Siyempre, una sa akin nakakakaba pero masaya kasi first time na magkakaroon ng award sa men’s na ganoon tapos ako pa yung napili so isang honor din talaga sa akin.”
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