Ateneo de Manila University soared into the winner’s circle of the UAAP Season 82 Men’s Volleyball Tournament after taking care of De La Salle University in straight sets, 25-20, 25-19, 27-25, Saturday at SM Mall of Asia Arena.
Fresh off an uncharacteristic loss to the UP Fighting Maroons last Wednesday, the Blue Eagles showed out with a bounce-back effort.
“Just happy that everyone performed well today. So coming from a tough loss against UP, I was very happy that my players stood up to the call na kailangan makabawi this game,” Ateneo head coach Timothy Sto. Tomas said
Chu Njigha rallied his side with a game-high 20 points anchored on 18 attacks and two blocks. His towering presence above the net helped Ateneo cruise in the first and second sets.
Still, the match came down to team effort, and the blue and white proved to be steadier as a unit in final stretches.
With a stalemate at 23, the momentum swung to the Blue Eagles after Njigha pummeled a quick hit but Lawrence Magadia coughed out a service error, setting up a deuce.
Both teams traded points from there until Kurt Aguilar nailed a drop ball to break a 25-all lock before Ron Medalla nailed the match-clinching block.
Aguilar rained down 13 points while Ron Medalla contributed 12 markers, taking care of a bulk of the 20 tosses delivered by Magadia.
John Mark Ronquillo managed 11 points, emerging as the lone twin-digit scorer for La Salle which started its campaign on a sour note.
Ateneo tries to carry over the momentum when it collides with University of the East on Wednesday, March 11. Meanwhile, DLSU looks for its winning form when it takes on University of the Philippines on Tuesday, March 10. Both matches take place at the same venue.