Gian Glorioso and Chumason Njigha joined hands to lift the Ateneo de Manila University Blue Eagles over archrivals Eco Oil-De La Salle University Green Spikers in a five-set thriller, 20-25, 25-23, 23-25, 25-21, 15-10, in the 2019 Spikers’ Turf Open Conference. Sunday at the Paco Arena in Manila.
The 1-2 punch of Glorioso and Njigha exploded for 32 points combined with the former tallying 17 points, while the latter finishing with 15 markers. More importantly, the Katipunan twin towers delivered the finishing touches in the fifth set.
Holding a one-point lead in the decider, Glorioso and Njigha spiked the differential hits to build a 12-9 advantage for Ateneo. From there, the Blue Eagles didn’t have to do much, as the Green Spikers committed three consecutive errors to seal their fate.
Despite coming out with the victory, Ateneo had a rusty start. They had to come back from two sets down en route to their second victory in as many outings — one game behind Cignal in Group B.
“Actually, ang sinasabi ko lang naman sa kanila is they really have to play disciplined volleyball. Kasi coming from our last game, sobrang dami naming errors. Most adjustment lang talaga na ginawa namin is to minimize our errors,” said Ateneo head coach Timothy Sto. Tomas on his team’s slow start.
Kurt Medalla provided the support above the net with five blocks for 13 points. Meanwhile, Lance De Castro patrolled the floor with 22 excellent digs and 11 receptions.
Billie Anima — who left the game in the fifth set after hurting his knee — paced the Green Spikers with 20 points on 16 attacks and four blocks.
JM Ronquillo had 16 for Eco Oil, who suffered their first loss for a 2-1 standing.
Also collecting their second victories in the tournament were the Hachiran-Far Eastern University Tamaraws and the Arellano University Chiefs.
Coming off a convincing victory against the Philippine Army, Hachiran-FEU sustained their momentum and swept the Philippine Coast Guard Dolphins, 25-14, 25-21, 25-17.
“Pinaghandaan talaga namin yung game namin, yung kung paano namin tatalunin yung Coast Guard. The way na mag-service kami, yung blocking, kung saan namin dadalin yung serve… Pati yung taong babantayan namin, talagang pinagplanuhan namin,” said Hachiran-FEU head coach Rey Diaz.
Mark Calado flaunted his offensive brilliance, firing 13 hits for 17 points to propel the Tamaraws to a 2-1 win-loss slate. They have also forged a two-way tie with PLDT for the second seed in Group C.
FEU skipper JP Bugaoan chipped in 10 points built on six hits and four blocks while Reco De Asis had eight markers.
Coast Guard, who dropped their second game in three outings, were led by Esmail and Eddiemar Kasim with 10 and eight points, respectively.
Looking to get back on track, the Arellano University Chiefs arrested a two-game losing skid as they made quick work of the San Beda University Red Spikers, 25-19, 25-17, 25-23, in the nightcap.
“Same ano lang kami, for preparating for NCAA. Yung routine namin, same lang naman yung ginagawa namin. Naging maganda naman yung power nung mga bata. Maganda, maganda kasi nag-improve yung block namin,” said Arellano head coach Sherwin Meneses.
Christian Dela Paz unloaded 19 points on 17 attacks, one block, and an ace to lead the Chiefs to an even 2-2 card in Group D, tying UST in the third spot.
Jesrael Liberato added 13 points in the victory. Chrisiitan Segovia and Demy Lapuz finished with nine and eight points, respectively.
San Beda captain Ferdinand Ulibas scored nine points for the Red Spikers, whose playoff hopes ended after dropping to a 0-3 standing.