Proving that their lineup can go as deep as the 14th man, the Ateneo De Manila University (ADMU) Blue Eagles gave all their players playing time and still managed to sweep the NCAA runner-ups College of Saint Benilde (CSB) Blazers 25-16, 25-18, 25-21 in the Spikers’ Turf Collegiate Conference presented by PLDT Home Ultera at the FilOil Flying V Arena.
The Blue Eagles started each set with a different starting six which allowed almost everyone to shine. UAAP MVP Marck Espejo and team captain Ysay Marasigan each pitched in just seven points each. Middle blockers, Tony Koyfman and Rex Intal contributed six markers each while Karl Baysa, Josh Villanueva, Ish Polvorosa, Timmy Sto. Tomas all had four points.
On the other hand, Benilde’s main gunners were severely bothered by Ateneo’s overwhelming length and athleticism. National Team powerhouse, Johnvic De Guzman only fired off eight points which was matched by Isaah Arda. Overall, the boys from Loyola outclassed their foes in every scoring skill – spikes (34-20), blocks (8-4), and aces (5-2).
The win marked Ateneo’s fifth straight and a resounding sweep of the first round of the tournament. Ateneo only had trouble in their first match of the season when they went up against the De La Salle Greeb Spikers. Back then, Ateneo head coach, Oliver Almadro marked his team’s lack of aggressiveness as something he needed to fix. After today’s win, Almadro said that his team’s approach to the game has improved.
“Well, the team has gotten more aggressive. Kita naman, kahit sino ipasok, magcocontribute. That’s the thing with this team, consistency. Everyone can play which will really help us heading into the next round because everyone’s going to be prepared and we’re going to need as much contributions as we can from everyone,” said Almadro. “Of course I’m confident. I need to be confident in order for my team to be the same way. Kahit itinatago ko, kailangan maramdaman ng team mula sa akin,” Almadro added when asked about his confidence heading into the next round.
The Blue Eagles will contend with the four teams that qualified from the other group – NU, EAC, NCBA, and FEU – with the Blue Eagles carrying over the three wins they earned from the three other squads that qualified from their bracket. The four teams with the best record after the next round will move on to another round-robin phase to determine the tournament’s finalists.
ADMU (3) – Espejo 7, Marasigan 7, Intal 6, Koyfman 6, Baysa 4, Villanueva 4, Polvorosa 4, Sto. Tomas 4, Rivera 3, Medalla 2, Glorioso 0, Magadia 0, Sumanguid (L), Posadas (L)
CSB (0) – De Guzman 8, Arda 8, Etrone 3, Basilan 3, Coming 2, Ugalde 2, Deximo 0, Chua (L)
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