Following two straight five-set losses, the Ateneo De Manila University Blue Eagles recovered with a quick win over the University of the East Red Warriors, 25-22, 25-19, 25-11, at the SMART Araneta Coliseum.
The Blue Eagles started out on fire, taking a 16-10 lead in the first set. UE trimmed the deficit to three, 23-20, but could not hold off late attacks Gian Glorioso and Janjan Rivera that ended the frame.
A scrappy UE side took advantage of Ateneo’s miscues in the second frame, forcing a 14-all tie. From there, the Blue Eagles regained control of their offense with Ron Medalla powering an 11-5 burst closing burst.
Ateneo closed the match with a flourish, breaking away from an 8-all knot to grab a 20-8 advantage.
Graduating opposite hitter Tony Koyfman led the Blue Eagles with 13 points. The American was relieved to have put their losing streak behind them.
“I think losing close games have been pretty tough for us. At the same time, it shows that we’re very close to beating top teams. We just need a bit more of a push in the endgame,” said Koyfman as Ateneo lost to Far Eastern University (4-0) and University of Santo Tomas (2-2).
Medalla and middle blocker Chumason Njigha paced Ateneo with nine points, apiece.
Captain Noel Alba and opposite hitter Clifford Inoferio had six points each for UE, who have dropped three straight matches.
Both squads play their next matches at the FilOil Flying V Centre. Ateneo (2-2) faces UP (0-4) on Sunday while UE (1-3) takes on Far Eastern University (4-0) on Wednesday.
ADMU (3) – Koyfman 13, Medalla 9, Njigha 9, Glorioso 8, Rivera 7, Magadia 4, Aguilar 1, Llenos 1, Tan 1, Cuerva 0, Morado 0, Sumanguid (L)
UE (0) – Alba 6, Inoferio 6, Bonoan 4, Ortega 4, Abalon 3, Adriano 3, Imperial 1, Reyes 1, Cacayan 0, Medina (L), Solis (L)