The Ateneo De Manila University (ADMU) Blue Eagles made short work of National College of Business and Arts (NCBA), sweeping the Wildcats in Game Two of their best-of-three series 25-19, 25-13, 25-22, in the Spikers’ Turf Collgiate Conference semifinals, clinching a UAAP Finals rematch with the NU Bulldogs at the FilOil Flying V Arena.
Team captain Ysay Marasigan and reigning UAAP MVP Marck Espejo turned in identical 11 point outings. Middle blockers, Tony Koyfman and Josh Villanueva blanketed the NCBA attackers and contributed 10 points apiece.
Ateneo head coach, Oliver Almadro shuffled through his lineup consistently throughout the match and found notable contributions from everyone. The Ateneo offense waxed NCBA for a 50-26 attacking advantage while limiting their errors, a perennial problem for the UAAP champs, to just 17, which matches their season low.
Mirroring their output in Game One, the NCBA side received minuscule contributions from their main gunners as no one broke double digits for the three-time UCLAA champs. Guest player Edwin Tolentino managed a team high seven markers but was taken out at the start of the set as he struggled to convert against Ateneo’s front line. NCBA’s other guest player, Reyson Fuentes continued his woes with Ateneo squeezing in just two points before being taken out in the third set.
The squad from Loyola now sets up for another heated match against UAAP rivals, National University Bulldogs. The former head coach of the Bulldogs, Coach Oliver expressed confidence that his Blue Eagles can pull through and claim another title at the expense of the Bulldogs.
“First of all, we’re very thankful that God gave us another chance to get a championship. NU’s a very tall and powerful team, and they keep on improving. I told my players that because our improving, we need to improve as well,” Almadro said. “Basta maging consistent lang kami, magfocus sa game plan, nothing is impossible for us,” he added.
Ateneo swept the Bulldogs in their quarterfinals match just last week through impressive efforts from everyone on the roster. NU head coach, Dante Alinsunurin urged his boys to keep their heads up despite the loss.
“Sabi ko lang tagalan lang natin ang pasensya natin. Malakas tayo, malalaki tayo, pero kulang pa talaga tayo sa experience. Once na magamay niyo na kung paano manalo ng mahihigpit na set, kakayanin na natin ‘yung mga kalaban,” Alisunurin said, whose team owes their only loss of the tournament to Ateneo.
The first game of the best-of-three finals series will tipoff on Sunday, September 20 at the San Juan Arena. The battle for third place series between NCBA and EAC will kick off on Saturday, September 19.
Ateneo (3) – Espejo 11, Marasigan 11, Koyfman 10, Villanueva 10, Rivera 7, Polvorosa 4, Medalla 2, Glorioso 1, Baysa 1, Magadia 0, Sto Tomas 0, Sumanguid (L)
NCBA (0) – Tolentino 7, Oclima R. 5, Domingo 4, Canlas 4, Oclima C. 3, Ugoy 3, Fuentes 2, Escobido (L)
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