UAAP VOLLEYBALL: Ateneo survives gritty UP, scores bounce back win

Mark Escarlote on Mar 24, 2018 01:57 PM
UAAP VOLLEYBALL: Ateneo survives gritty UP
Ateneo de Manila University bounced back from a previous setback with a four-set victory over upset-conscious University of the Philippines.

Three-time defending champion Ateneo de Manila University recovered from a set down to score a bounce back win over University of the Philippines, 24-26, 25-15, 25-18, 31-29, Saturday in the 80th UAAP men’s volleyball tournament at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan.

The semis-bound Blue Eagles vented their ire on the Fighting Maroons, a week after suffering a sorry five-set loss to Far Eastern University for a 9-2 win-loss record tied with the Tamaraws just half a game behind league-leading National University (9-1).

"Talagang coming off a loss (against FEU), medyo mabigat," said Ateneo coach Oliver Almadro. "Pero what's important is yung drive ng players, they did choose to win today."

Four-time Most Valuable Player Marck Espejo scored 30 points coming off 15 attacks, three kill blocks and a pair of aces while adding 14 excellent receptions for the Katipunan-based squad.

The Blue Eagles got a serious scare in the fourth set after UP moved at set points 24-23 off a kill by Wendel Miguel. Ateneo equalized on the next play courtesy of Espejo. The Maroons saved two match points before taking a 27-26 lead on Karl Baysa’s attack error.

The Blue Eagles tied it at 27 but had their three match points erased by the gritty Diliman-based squad. Espejo gave Ateneo a 30-29 lead with an off the block kill before Ron Medalla sealed the win with a service ace.

"Talagang maganda ang inilaro ng UP. We have to practice more consistency and aggressiveness inside the court," he added. "Ish Polvorosa is still a leader for me. Now, ipinapakita niya na he's a true leader inside the court."

Chumason Njigha and Medalla had 10 markers each while Ish Polvorosa tallied 39 excellent sets for the Blue Eagles.

John Mark Millete scored 18 points while Brylle Consuelo and Miguel chipped in 12 and 11 markers, respectively, for UP.

The Maroons dropped to 3-8 card and are on the brink of elimination in the race for the last Final Four berth.



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