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Blue Eagles soar past Chiefs, remain undefeated in Spikers’ Turf

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The Ateneo De Manila University (ADMU) Blue Eagles continued to cruise through the competition in the Spikers’ Turf Collegiate Conference presented by PLDT Home Ultera as the boys from Loyola swept the Arellano University (AU) Chiefs 26-24, 25-18, 25-17 at the FilOil Flying V Arena last Wednesday.

Ateneo was greeted with a fiery effort in the opening set from the winless Chiefs. Using a different starting six than usual, Ateneo faced a late two-point deficit, 18-16. However, the Eagles persisted through their errors and stuck to their league-leading spiking to overwhelm AU down the stretch.

Blue Eagles’ head coach, Oliver Almadro continued to tinker with his lineup in the following sets and saw seemingly no drop off from his bench unit. Utilizing rookie, Ron Medalla and Karl Baysa in the second set, ADMU took a lofty 14-6 lead and answered Arellano’s runs to take the frame convincingly. In the third set, guest player, Timmy Sto. Tomas scored all five of his points to close the match out with UAAP MVP, Marck Espejo and team captain Ysaya Marasigan on the bench.

Espejo still managed to lead all scorers with 12 in barely two sets of action while middle blocker Josh Villanueva torched the opposing defense with 10 points which includes two aces and two blocks. For his stellar effort in the back row, Libero Manuel Sumanguid III took home player of the game honors tallying five digs and 13 excellent receptions.

In Ateneo’s first four games, four different players won the player of the game honor for his team with Espejo yet to net the award. This, according to coach Almadro, is a testament to his team’s versatility and teamwork. “Ganyan naman sa volleyball. Teamwork is very crucial. I’m very happy and I’m sure Marck [Espejo] is very happy as well with how his teammates have been performing. I wouldn’t say that we’re in championship form, but we’re getting there.”

Coach Alamadro also explained that he used a different starting six for the game since his two starters, setter Ish Polvorosa and Villanueva, figured in an accident in yesterday’s practice. Both, however, played in the last two sets of the match.

Ateneo puts their undefeated record on the line against the 2-2 Benilede Blazers on Wednesday, August 12. Arellano looks to finish their campaign on a high note against fellow winless team, DLSU-D Patriots Monday, August 10.

The Scores

ADMU (3) – Espejo 12, Villanueva 10, Intal 8, Marasigan 7, Rivera 6, Sto Tomas 5, Polvorosa 4, Baysa 2, Magadia 1, Glorioso 1, Koyfman 0, Sumanguid (L), Posadas (L)

AU (0) – Del Espiritu 7, Aliyacyac 6, Latip 5, Sarino 4, Segovia 3, Soriano 3, Cabillan 2, Liberato 1, Lozada 0, Santo 0, Digal (L), Dela Cruz (L)

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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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