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UAAP 85 MVB: Batas does not allow Ateneo meltdown, downs UE in 5

ATENEO de Manila University averted a meltdown to deny University of the East, 25-22, 25-20, 18-25, 22-25, 15-10, for its first win in the UAAP Season 85 Men’s Volleyball tournament, Wednesday at the PhilSports Arena in Pasig City.

Jet Gopio and Abai Llenos came to life at the net in the decider, with the former getting a kill to extend the Blue Eagles’ advantage to 9-6.

Llenos fired an attack to send Ateneo to match point before Ken Batas finished off the two-hour, 25-minute content.

The win sees the Blue Eagles and the Red Warriors tied at 1-1.

“Of course, we’re happy we got our first win. Sayang lang we had a good start but during the third and the fourth set, we had lapses that I think we have to address moving forward into the season. But I’m still happy that we were able to win the game,” Ateneo head coach Timmy Sto. Tomas said.

Llenos, who came off the bench, ended with 15 points, finishing where Batas left off. Batas ended with 15 markers as well, all coming from attacks, while Gopio ended with 12 points on 10 attacks and two blocks.

Ateneo trailed for most of the opening set, but errors from the UE saw them inch closer and take the lead at 22-20. Batas eventually finished the first with an off-the-block kill, 25-22.

In the second set, with UE leading, Sto. Tomas gambled on a change of setter for some adjustments in their attacks. Season 81 Best Setter Egie Magadia went in for starting playmaker James Licauco, and his impact was to give the Blue Eagles the 2-0 set advantage.

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“I am lucky to have a veteran setter on the bench with us. So, anytime we need to change our system or change up the pace of the game, we have Egie to guide the team, especially since most of the players are new,” Sto. Tomas said.

The Red Warriors, though, leaned on the versatility of its attackers in the next two sets to set up a fifth and final set with Lloyd Josafat and John Michael Andaya rotating

Ken Culabat and JP Mangahis towed UE especially on those two sets, ending up with 20 and 18 points, respectively. Culabat ended with 19 attacks and a service ace, while Mangahis pulled his markers all on spikes.

Ateneo (1-1) will take on rival De La Salle University at 5 p.m. on Sunday after UE (1-1) faces off with University of the Philippines earlier in the day at 10 a.m.

Grew to appreciate various sports from tennis to judo. True-maroon kiddo since the new millennium. Fanboy. Singer. Occasional sports writer.

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