UAAP FINALS: Patikimin naman natin si Espejo ng mapait -- NU

Mark Escarlote on May 02, 2018 05:07 PM
UAAP FINALS: Patikimin naman natin si Espejo ng mapait -- NU
National University prepared well and hard to give Ateneo de Manila University graduating player Marck Espejo a 'memorable' parting gift.

Ateneo de Manila University scorer Marck Espejo changed the landscape of Philippine men’s volleyball in general with his scoring prowess and all-around game.  

He collected accolades, put the Blue Eagles as the standard of collegiate volleyball and won numerous titles for Ateneo in the UAAP and in the commercial league.

Espejo’s excellence is well-known, celebrated and his name for the past decade has been synonymous to success.

In his fifth and last year with the Blue Eagles, many believed that Ateneo will give Espejo a fitting farewell on his swan song.

National University beg to disagree.

The Bulldogs, who have been on the losing end of their Finals head-to-head against the Blue Eagles in last three years, prepared long and hard to reclaim the crown they last held in Season 76.

NU head coach Dante Alinsunurin admires the contribution of Espejo in volleyball. The Bulldogs respect his game.   

“Alam mo yung batang ‘yun, siya talaga ang nagdala ng volleyball sa men's division talaga,” said Alinsunurin. “Mapa-club team, ang laking impluwensiya na dumating siya diyan sa volleyball kasi alam mo 'yung bata, talagang masipag, kita mo na lahat ng ginagawa niya, talagang bigay todo. Every time na naglalaro siya, maraming mga batang na-inspire para sa kanya.” 

But they wanted to give the five-time Most Valuable Player a different kind of ‘memorable’ parting gift.

“Pero sabi ko nga ngayong taon, sabi nga ng mga players (ko) na, 'Coach, minsan patikimin naman natin si Espejo ng mapait para yung last exit niya, mas memorable sa kanya,'” said Alinsunurin.

NU found it hard to control Espejo from Seasons 77 to 79, but the Bulldogs were equipped this year. They had the pieces to slowdown Espejo.

They’re ready to shoot down the high-flying King Eagle.     

“’Yun ang kinukunan namin talaga. Yun nga, nangyari na pero sabi ko nga, ganoon ang ano, yung sitwasyon talaga ay para sa amin,” said Alinsunurin.

NU ended a 13-game losing streak to Ateneo with a four-set win in the second round and from there gained the much-needed confidence to topple the Blue Eagles’ dynastic rule.

They were equipped to stop Espejo.

“’Yun ang nangyayari, sabi ko, 'yung maturity nila tumaas na,” said Alinsunurin. “Every time na may sitwasyon kaming bago sa paningin nila, kaya na nilang malampasan.”

“Hindi katulad dati na pag may kaunting adjustment yung kalaban namin, nahihirapan na kami kasi meron kaming game plan na sinusunod, tapos siyempre minsan 'di nasusunod 'yun,” he added. “Ngayon kapag may kaunting adjustment 'yung kalaban, nakakasunod na 'yung player ko, nalalaman nila kung paano gagawin, paano nila malampasan.”




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