Back-to-back UAAP MVP Marck Espejo opened his debut in the Spiker’s Turf Mens Volleyball Tournament with a team-high 24 points, as he led the Cagayan Valley Rising Suns in a thrilling 5-set comeback against the Champion Infinity Active Smashers.
Almost a month ago, Espejo led the Ateneo Blue Spikers over the National University Bulldogs in a 4-set victory that clinched Ateneo’s first UAAP volleyball championship in the men’s division.
NU, meanwhile, was led by graduating players Peter Torres and Berlin Paglinawan, who are also part of Marck’s new team in Cagayan.
When asked about playing for the first time in the Spiker’s Turf tournament, Marck shared that he was enjoying himself, not only because of the new environment and opponents, but also because he is able to play alongside his former opponents.
“Masaya, masaya, kasi kakampi ko ‘yung mga nakalaban ko dati. Tapos first time ko na pro na tournament.”
“Siyempre yung mga kalaban matatanda na rin. Pero hindi ko iniisip ‘yun, every game para sa akin final game.”
With less than a month since their UAAP campaign ended, Marck Espejo and teammate Rex Intal have not had enough practice with the team. “During UAAP pa nag-training sila,” shared Marck. “Kami nila Rex nagtrain kami last week Monday, tapos yesterday. Twice pa lang.”
After dropping the first two sets of their match, Cagayan managed to rally back, winning the final three sets to come out with the victory.
Espejo stated that a number of factors attributed to the loss of the first two sets.
“Wala pa kaming composure sa game. Siguro kasi first time namin magkasama-sama, na may nag-graduate na, may naglalaro pa, tapos magkalaban kami dati,” said Espejo.
When the lineups for the Spiker’s Turf was released, many claimed that Cagayan would be one of the teams to beat, with two UAAP MVPs in Marck Espejo and Peter Torres in the lineup. When asked about this Marck humbly deflected the question, saying that he’s just happy to play alongside the former NU Bulldog.
“Napapansin ko. Kasi si Peter crowd favorite din siya. Pero masaya pag kami ‘yung magkasama. Hindi ko pa masasabi, pero magt-training kami.”
Speaking of Peter Torres, Marck shares that it is a unique experience being able to play alongside his former rival. It may not have been easy at first, but they are now comfortable playing alongside each other.
“Masaya, kasi dati nung UAAP kami ‘yung laging magkatapat. So para mabago naman, magkakampi kami. Nung una siyempre parang nakakailang kasi magkalaban kami. Pero nung tumagal, nagkaroon ng konting composure kaya naging masaya.”