It’s not only because his second name is Jesus, but Ateneo Blue Eagles head coach Oliver Almadro considers Marck Espejo a blessing from God to Ateneo because of the sudden turnaround in the Blue Eagles’ program since he came to Loyola Heights.
The 6’0” open hitter has nabbed the MVP award in all three of his UAAP seasons, leading the Blue Eagles to the Finals thrice and to championships in Season 77 and 78. Before he arrived in Katipunan, the Blue Eagles were perennially out of the Final Four.
In the Spikers’ Turf, Ateneo are flat-out dominating, having swept both seasons of the Collegiate Conference en route to gold. As usual, Espejo won the MVP award in both tournaments.
“As I’ve told you before, he really is God’s gift to Ateneo,” the outspoken Almadro remarked about Espejo.
“I always keep telling him and my players that individual awards come with team success. So if we focus on making everyone around us better, the awards will come with the championship.”
Espejo echoes his coach’s sentiments, stressing that he never looks at his individual stats.
“Hindi ko po talaga iniisip ‘yung awards. Kami naman po kasi sa team, mas naka-focus sa team stats kasi mas makikita mo doon ang progress naming lahat. Para sa akin naman po, mas importante na nag-champion kami than anything else,” Esepejo told Tiebreaker Times.
“Kung titignan niyo naman din po, marami sa amin ang may awards.”
There are several other decorated Blue Eagles. Espejo’s batchmate Ish Polvorosa has won two Best Setter awards in the UAAP and Spikers’ Turf, and a Finals MVP award during UAAP Season 77. American opposite hitter, Antony Paul Koyfman, won the Finals MVP for their second Spikers’ Turf stint.
“For me po sobrang blessing na maging MVP pero sa tingin ko po mas magandang goal ang mag-champion as a team,” he concluded.