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Men’s Beach Volley Day Four: Ateneo one win away from the Finals

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The Ateneo Blue Eagles got through the toughest day of their UAAP Beach Volleyball season, inching closer to an outright Finals berth. UST and NU setup a pivotal Day Five, while FEU and Adamson fought for their lives and made their final match today incredibly crucial.

Ateneo’s Ysay Marasigan and Marck Espejo survived their toughest day, inching past the AdU Falcons’ Michael Sudaria and Rence Melgar 21-18, 21-19 in the morning then bucking fatigue to muster a comeback against then undefeated Kris Guzman and Anthony Arbasto of UST 19-21, 21-18, 15-10. Adamson provided pesky defense but Ateneo’s powerful attacking was ultimately too much for the smaller Falcons. After nearly just an hour of rest, Ateneo struggled out of the gate against UST. Unable to get a good pass while coughing up errors, Ateneo surrendered the first set and the lead early in the following frame. Down by as much as three, the Eagles caught their second win and executed their patterns perfectly to force a third set which the Eagles dominated right from the first point.

Ateneo finshed the day with an immaculate 6-0 record with one match remaining: against the winless Edward Camposano and Geric Ortega of UE today. Should the Eagles remain unbeaten, they head straight to the Finals on Sunday with a thrice-to-beat advantage. The rest of the Top Four will compete in a stepladder.

After NU’s Bryan Bagunas and Madzlan Gampong easily handled DLSU’s Carlo Sendo and Levin Dimayuga in straight sets 21-18, 21-13, the Bulldogs finished the day tied with a UST at second place with identical 5-1 records. In a rematch of last season’s Finals, UST and NU faces-off for the right to a twice-to-beat advantage.

After losing to Ateneo, the Falcons’ Sudaria and Melgar bounced back later in the day, crushing the UE Warriors 21-10, 21-5 to end the day with a 3-3 record.

FEU’s Greg Dolor and Jude Garcia also kept pace of a return to the Final Four destroying UE in the morning 21-17, 21-9 then taking care of the UP Maroons’ Alfrec Valbuena and Evan Raymundo 21-18, 21-18 later in the afternoon. FEU tied Adamson at fourth place with a 3-3 slate. The Falcons and Tamaraws throw down later with the winner advancing to the Top Four.

The Top Four phase of the tournament, whether it be a Final For or a Stepladder, will start in the afternoon today.

Here are the standings after Day Four:

ADMU 6-0
NU 5-1
UST 5-1
AdU 3-3
FEU 3-3
DLSU 1-5
UP 1-5
UE 0-6

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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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