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Blue Eagles silence Falcons to complete second round sweep

Avenging their only loss of the season, the Ateneo De Manila University Blue Eagles grounded the Adamson University Soaring Falcons 25-22, 25-17, 25-22 to end the elimination round on top of the standings at the SM MoA Arena.

Both teams traded heated attacks to start the match. Swapping share of the lead, Ateneo broke away thanks to Marck Espejo’s loaded jump serves for a 16-12 lead. The Falcons mounted a late comeback behind Mike Sudaria’s smart attacking, trimming the deficit to one, 21-20. From there, Espejo came through with back-to-back pipe hits that gave Ateneo a 24-21 lead, setting up Rex Intal’s service ace that sealed the set.

With their reception going array, Adamson succumbed to a 1-8 deficit on the second frame. The Falcons again cut the lead down to three, 14-17, after a questionable rotation call on the Blue Eagles. Ateneo head coach, Oliver Almadro described the situation.

“We knew that there was something wrong with our rotation kaya nga Ysay (Marasigan) stopped the play. Nag-whistle ‘yung referee before that to serve but nag-whistle ulet siya to stop the play after that. Then we get called for an eight-second violation which I don’t get kasi they stopped the play,” Almadro explained after the match, continuing his call for consistent officiating

The play stoppage only sparked the Eagles who rattled off five straight points for a 22-14 lead, putting the frame out of doubt.

The last set was again close down to the later third as Mike Sudaria scored thrice to pull Adamson to a 21-all tie. But the Blue Eagles managed to extend their lead one last time through Ysay Marasigan’s serving. Espejo then served a lucky ace off the net to cap his magnificent match.

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Espejo tallied a game-high 17 points off 12 attacks and five aces with nine excellent receptions. Marasigan contributed 12 points, all off attacks.

“We’re happy that we’re going into the Final Four with momentum. But still, we need to keep focused an prepare for the next opponent regardless kung UP or FEU,” said Almadro.

At 13-1, the Blue Eagles claim the first seed for the second straight season and will either face the UP Maroons or FEU Tamaraws in the Final Four.

Sudaria was the only Falcon in double-digits with 14 points. Adamson scored all of their points off attacks and Ateneo’s errors, tallying zero blocks and aces.

The Falcons can tie the NU Bulldogs for the second seed with if they take down the UP Maroons on Wednesday at the FilOil Flying V Centre.

The Scores

ADMU (3) – Espejo 17, Marasigan 12, Villanueva 7, Polvorosa 6, Baysa 5, Intal 5, Rivera 2, Glorioso 0, Magadia 0, Medalla 0, Sumanguid (L)

AdU (0) – Sudaria 14, Sarmiento 8, Pletado 7, Pablico 5, Saraza 2, Consunji 2, Yude 0, Mendiolla (L), Melgar (L)

Written By

Miguel Luis Flores fell face first into sports writing in high sch9l and has never gotten up. He reluctantly stumbled into the volleyball beat when he started with Tiebreaker Times three years ago. Now, he has waded through everything volleyball - from its icky politics to the post-modern art that is Jia Morado's setting.

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