After two years, Cignal star hitter Marck Espejo can finally call himself a champion once again.
“Sobrang saya, na-miss ko yung feeling. Tapos kasama ko pa mga Ateneo teammates ko before,” expressed the 22-year-old spiker moments after the HD Spikers’ sweep of Air Force-Go for Gold.
“Sobrang sarap talaga sa feeling, ang gaan.”
The last time that The Phenom hoisted a championship trophy was with the Ateneo Blue Eagles in the Premier Volleyball League First Collegiate Conference in 2017, where he was hailed as the Season and Finals MVP.
Since then, it has been a frustrating couple of years for Espejo as Bryan Bagunas and the National University Bulldogs spoiled his UAAP farewell and handed him a harsh exit in Season 80.
The five-time UAAP MVP then suited up for Cignal HD Spikers and had the chance to win it all in the 2018 Spikers’ Turf Reinforced Conference. But he was again denied by long-time rival Bagunas and the Air Force Jet Spikers.
Espejo would then go overseas to play for Oita Miyoshi Weisse Adler in the Japan V-League. However, his first season in Japan ended in disappointment as the White Eagles failed to enter the Winners Stage after only winning four games in 27 outings.
Sunday evening, the wait was finally over for the decorated spiker.
Espejo brought out the broom in Game Two of the 2019 Reinforced Conference and claimed revenge on Bagunas and the Jet Spikers, notching his first title with Cignal.
“Worth it lahat ng pinaghirapan namin. First championship ko rin ‘to with Cignal and hopefully sa ibang tournaments pa,” the two-year pro shared.
Espejo also got his bonus as he bagged the Finals MVP plum along with the Second Best Open Spiker award after averaging 23.5 points and 21 receptions in the best-of-three Finals series.
But for him, nothing was sweeter than the big trophy itself – the Reinforced Conference plum.
“Ayon, champion kaya nag-Finals MVP, pero gusto ko talaga yung team goal eh. Sa team goal talaga ako naka-focus, kasi ang tagal ko na ring hindi na feel mag-champion, so ayon sobrang saya sa feeling talaga,” he declared.
“Ngayon lang talaga nagsi-sink in yung mga ibang individual awards, pero yun talaga, yung championship talaga gusto namin.”
With just three weeks to rest before the Open Conference opens its curtains, Espejo will focus on rehabbing his right shoulder. And he plans on working hard in the short off-season as the HD Spikers gun for the golden double.
“As of now wala pa, pahinga muna, focus muna sa rehab ng shoulder. Magpagaling muna as in hundred-percent tapos ayon, bahala na siguro next conference.”