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AVC: Espejo drops 36 as PMNVT completes sweep of Challenge Cup pool


The Philippine men’s national volleyball team clinched the top seed in Pool D, taking down Mongolia in five sets, 22-25, 25-21, 26-24, 23-25, 15-12 in the 2023 Asian Men’s Volleyball Challenge Cup at the Taipei Gymnasium in Taiwan.

After splitting the first two sets, the Mongolians surged to a 24-22 advantage and moved on the verge of a commanding 2-1 advantage over the Filipinos.

Marck Espejo, though, made sure that the Philippines will come out with the win, converting back-to-back attacks to send the third set to a deuce. Steve Rotter secured a ball touch on his attack to put the Filipinos on top before the former Spikers’ Turf MVP scored off the block to win the frame.

Mongolia bounced back in the fourth, fending off the Filipinos’ comeback attempt to force a five set.

However, it was not enough as the Philippines overcame a 10-12 disadvantage in the fifth frame via a booming 5-0 run highlighted by a two-man block from Ryan Ka and Kim Malabunga to win the game.

Espejo scored a match-high 36 points from 29 attacks, two blocks, and five aces.

The Filipinos ended their group stage campaign with a perfect 2-0 record.

Next up for the Philippines is Vietnam on Wednesday.

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