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Intal shines in Ateneo’s Game One triumph over NU

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Veteran middle blocker, Rex Intal delivered a game-high 15 points with seven blocks that helped his Ateneo De Manila University Blue Eagles plow through the National University Bulldogs in Game One of the Spikers’ Turf Collegiate Conference Finals, 25-17, 25-18, 25-19 at the FilOil Flying V Arena.

Ateneo controlled the match masterfully throughout with steady blocking, floor defense and relentless serving. The defending UAAP champs coaxed their foes into 26 errors, garnered eight aces to NU’s zero, while also netting ten blocks to NU’s three.

The Blue Eagles also rotated all their players throughout the match and had everyone deliver significant contributions. Crowned the conference MVP before the match, Marck Espejo and the conference’s best opposite hitter, Ysay Marasigan each put nine points. Usually brought off the bench, Karl Baysa started the match and finished with seven points.

UAAP 77 Best setter, Ish Polvorosa tossed up 24 excellent sets despite coming off a serious illness this past week.

“Akala talaga naman na-dengue siya,” said Ateneo head coach, Oliver Almadro about his setter. “He was hospitalized last Monday. It turns out may viral infection siya. We were fully prepared to play without him. But he came back last Thursday and insisted na kaya niya daw. So by Thursday, we had him train with the team and thankfully he played really well today. Wala akong masabi sa fighting spirit ng bata. He really wanted to win.”

Coach Oliver continued by praising his team’s brilliant performance. “I’m really happy na lahat ng ginamit ko nag-deliver. Especially Karl Baysa na hindi ko inexpect na magiistep up ng husto. I’m very happy with our performance. I wouldn’t say that we have an advantage against NU because their really tall and powerful. My players really just wanted to win more,” Almadro expressed. “We just trained really hard like we always do. Sabi nga sa akin ni Coach Tai [Bundit] ‘Can win, can lose’ kaya hindi talaga kami pwede mag-relax.”

Sophomore Bryan Bagunas led his Bulldogs with 11 markers while Fauzi Ismail and Francis Saura provided nine points apiece. The Bulldogs owe all their loses this season to the Blue Eagles.

Game Two of this series will take place on Sunday, September 27 3 p.m. at the San Juan Arena.

The Scores:

Ateneo (3) – Intal 15, Espejo 9, Marasigan 9, Baysa 7, Villanueva 4, Polvorosa 3, Magadia 1, Sto Tomas 1, Rivera 0, Koyfman 0, Sumanguid (L)

NU (0) – Bagunas 11, Ismail 9, Saura 9, Gampong 6, Malabunga 4, Baysac 0, Dayandante 0, Mangulabnan 0, Marcos (L), Ancheta (L)

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Miguel Luis Flores fell face first into sports writing in high sch9l and has never gotten up. He reluctantly stumbled into the volleyball beat when he started with Tiebreaker Times three years ago. Now, he has waded through everything volleyball - from its icky politics to the post-modern art that is Jia Morado's setting.

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