The ADMU Blue Spikers improved to a 4-2 win-loss slate and grabbed their third straight win after defeating the cellar-dwelling UE Red Warriors, 25-14, 25-22, 22-25, 25-19 in the opening game day of 2015 held at San Juan Arena.
The opening set displayed an array of defensive stops for Ateneo as they were able to force the Red Warriors to successive errors. Ateneo led in the early stages of the game and never lost grip in the opening frame. Mark Espejo spearheaded the offensive firepower for the Blue Spikers who led by double digits for majority of the first set.
The second set opened just like the initial canto with Ateneo’s net defense making UE’s execution rattled. Eyeing an early 2-0 lead, the blue-and-white squad erected a 15-8 cushion in the second set. UE’s offense finally showed up as they countered with a 14-8 rally to pull themselves within a solitary point. Despite a late set flurry of points put up by UE, Ateneo held on to win it anchored by Ysrael Marasigan’s timely hits.
With the momentum they gathered regardless of losing the second set, the Red Warriors were able to build on a lead over Ateneo to fight back in the game. UE led the majority of the third set with the help of their impressive floor defense to deny the Ateneo spikers and their net defense also stood tall. The Red Warriors extended the game with a close three-point third set win.
Espejo and Rex Intal made noise early in the fourth set to initiate the charge of Ateneo. The opening part of the fourth was a close encounter but a 7-3 spurt in the middle of the set helped the Blue Spikers enter the second technical timeout up by six. From that point on, Ateneo was able to hold on and keep UE at bay with multiple spikes to close the game for good.
Ateneo displayed more spikes and attacks, 51-36 and had more service aces, 6-2. The blocking game was present for both ADMU and UE with 9 and 10 respectively. Ateneo was also sharper in terms of their floor defense with a 22-10 disparity in digs.
Espejo once again took charge in leading the scoring with 21 points while Ysrael Marasigan added 16. Ed Camposano top-scored the struggling UE squad with 20 points and Christian Gopio chipped in nine.
The Blue Spikers look finish their first round stint strong against the streaking NU Bulldogs squad on Jan. 11 at the Mall of Asia Arena while UE seeks its first victory against UP on Jan. 10 at San Juan Arena.
ADMU- Espejo 21, Marasigan 16, Villanueva 12, Intal 7, Polvorosa 4, Rivera 4, Baysa 2, Santos 0, Senoren 0, Bello 0, Rivera(L) 0
UE- Campusano 20, Gopio 9, Mandani 6, Adviento 5, Molina 5, Alba 1, Magdaong 1, Lelic 1, Inoferio 0, Caluya 0, Pron(L) 0, Almario(L) 0