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Tiebreaker Times

Blue Spikers open up second round stint with straight-set win over streaking Falcons

The Ateneo Blue Spikers continued their streak-busting role in the Men’s volleyball tournament as they snapped Adamson’s seven-game winning run with a 26-24, 25-21, 25-18 victory at the FilOil Arena in San Juan on Sunday.

The Blue Spikers jumped to an early lead, up by four as Adamson’s hits seemed off from the get-go. However, the Falcons countered as they rallied to tie the set at 11, as it was Ateneo’s attacks that were affected by Adamson’s net defense during the first. Both teams traded leads in a closely-contested opening frame.

Ysrael Marasigan’s outside hit late in the first set helped Adamson build a seemingly comfortable three-point lead. Unfortunately, back-to-back outside hits by the Falcons jumpstarted Ateneo’s late set rally and the Blue Spikers went on an 8-3 run late capped by timely hits from Mark Espejo and Rex Intal.

The second set showcased a similar theme from the first as both teams did not lead by more than two points until the last moments of the canto. A flurry of failure of reception plus service errors haunted both teams in terms of building their lead and pulling away from the other. Tied at 21, Ateneo’s blocking came at a perfect time as they denied Adamson’s spikers late.

The Blue Spikers scored on a 4-1 rally to close out the set as Adamson’s lone point in the rally was a block on Espejo’s service. Espejo responded with the finishing spike to build Ateneo’s 2-0 commanding lead.

Adamson took the third set’s first point but the duo of Marasigan and Ishmael Rivera chipped in the points needed to restore Ateneo’s advantage. Errors piled up for the Falcons as they were doubled early by Ateneo, 5-10.

The lead served as breathing room for the confident Ateneo squad as they led the rest of the game. Espejo had timely service aces plus worthy contributions by Joshua Villanueva and Rivera put the Falcons away en route to Ateneo’s first win in the second round of the tournament.

Three blue-and-white spikers contributed double digits for Ateneo led by Espejo’s 12 points. Adamson’s scorers were limited as rookie Jerome Sarmiento and Michael Sudaria’s seven-point production led the Falcons’ scoring.

Ateneo had more spikes, 40-22, and blocked more attacks, 8-5. Despite the loss, Adamson committed less errors, 27-33, and scored more on services, 4-1.

The victory propelled Ateneo to a 6-2 record, now winners of five straight games while Adamson dropped to 7-2.

Ateneo’s next assignment will be the winless UE squad on Wednesday, 10am at the Mall of Asia Arena. On the other hand, Adamson seeks to bounce back from this loss against UST, 8am on January 31.

The scores:
Ateneo- Espejo 12, Villanueva 11, Rivera 10, Intal 7, Marasigan 6, Polvorsa 3, Santos 0, Baysa 0, Sernoren 0, Posadas 0, Rivera(L) 0
Adamson- Sarmiento 7, Sudaria 7, Yude 4, Ramirez 4, Pletado 2, David 2, Pablico 2, Mallapre 0, Melgar(L) 0

Set scores: 26-24, 25-22,25-18

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