UAAP VOLLEYBALL: Espejo records 55 points, Ateneo forces decider
Mark Escarlote on Apr 21, 2018 04:48 PM
Marck Espejo exploded with 55 points to help the three-time defending champion Ateneo de Manila University extend the Final Four series into a decider.
Marck Espejo is a monster.
With the three-time defending champion Ateneo de Manila University’s back against the wall, Espejo rose to the occasion with a record-setting display of his offensive prowess, helping the Blue Eagles extend the Final Four series with a hard-earned 18-25, 25-13, 24-26, 25-23, 15-9, win over twice-to-beat Far Eastern University Saturday in the 80th UAAP men’s volleyball tournament at the MOA Arena.
The graduating four-time Most Valuable Player Espejo scored a jaw-dropping 55 points including 11 in the fifth set to break his previous high of 39 markers in a second round five-set loss to the Tamaraws, who swept the Katipunan-based squad in the elims.
Espejo had 47 attacks, six kill blocks and a pair of aces for Ateneo. John Rivera scored eight, Gian Glorioso got six while Chumason Njigha and Ron Medalla combined for 10 points for the Blue Eagles.
Game 2 is on Wednesday at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan.
Espejo wreaked havoc in the fifth set and gave Ateneo an 8-5 lead. FEU closed the gap 8-9 before the Blue Eagles extended their advantage to 11-8 off an off the block kill by Espejo.
The Ateneo star finished off FEU with a thunderous spike to cap the Blue Eagles' closing 4-1 assault.
Espejo brought the Blue Eagles back into life in the fourth set with his powerful smashes as Ateneo overhauled an early 8-11 deficit. Ateneo went ahead 23-20 before FEU scored two straight to draw close, 23-22.
Espejo put the Blue Eagles at set point off a spike before the Tams saved a point but the Ateneo ace hammered an attack to put the match into a decider.
FEU took a 2-1 match lead after hanging tough late in the third frame.
The Tams after a disappointing second set trailed early in the frame before making a run for a 20-20 deadlock. Redijohn Paler broke a 23-23 tie with a hit off a combination play before Espejo forced an extension with a kill of his own.
Jude Garcia scored on an attack before Ateneo’s John Rivera sent his attack straight to the net as the Blue Eagles surrendered the third set.
JP Bugaoan and Garcia each had 15 points while Paler had 12 markers for the Tams.
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