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Blue Spikers extend winning tear to 10, solidify twice-to-beat seat in semis

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The Ateneo Blue Spikers notched their tenth straight win of the tournament with a fast 25-17, 27-25, 25-21 sweep over the DLSU Green Spikers to maintain their grip on the top spot of the standings at the Mall of Asia Arena.

Ateneo built an early 4-1 lead with La Salle committing three errors to start the match. However, the Green Spikers countered with their front row spikes doing damage both in the quick hits and net defense to make it a close encounter in the middle of the opening set. After a timeout, Ateneo responded with their own rally to double La Salle’s output at 14-7 with Ysrael Marasigan and Mark Espejo starting to get their groove offensively. With La Salle’s Red Christensen denied, the Blue Spikers erected a 20-12 lead en route to finishing a one-sided first set up by eight.

For the second set, it was La Salle’s turn to display their offensive game as they led for the majority of the set. Their defense also improved compared to the first, as the Taft-based spikers managed to lead 13-10. With the Blue Spikers’ attackers not finding their mark in the middle of the frame while the Green Spikers piled up the points, La Salle found themselves leading 23-21.

Unfortunately for La Salle, Espejo scored on a kill, plus Marasigan delivered a service ace to tie things up. As the set went to its dying moments, Ateneo outscored La Salle 5-2 after multiple ties to escape with the second canto win.

Just like the second set, Ateneo trailed the early part of the third set against La Salle. Middle hit scoring was helpful for DLSU, while Espejo struggled with his serving as DLSU led 17-14. Anchored by the Ateneo duo, the Blue Spikers outscored their green-and-white counterparts 9-4 in the third set to grab the momentum once again and eventually finish off the match.

Ateneo had more spikes, 38-26, and was plus five in service aces, 10-5. Marasigan led all scorers with 14 including three blocks. Espejo contributed 13 markers.

The win gives Ateneo an 11-2 slate to tighten up their grip on the top spot with UST as their remaining game of the season. On the other hand, La Salle drops to 3-10 and still sits at the seventh spot in the standings.

The scores:

Ateneo (3) – Marasigan 14, Espejo 13, Villanueva 10, Intal 7, Rivera 7, Polvorosa 3, Señoren 0, Rivera (L) 0

DLSU (0) – Calasin 8, Calderon 7, Dumago 5, Relcopan 4, Christensen 3, Dimayuga 3, Frey 3, Onia 3, Santos 2, Dizon (L) 0, Movido (L) 0

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