Defending champions Ateneo de Manila University Blue Eagles bagged their eighth consecutive victory, sweeping the Adamson University Soaring Falcons, 25-19, 26-24, 25-22, at the FilOil Flying V Centre.
Seeking their fourth straight title, the Blue Eagles remained tied with perennial Finals nemesis NU Bulldogs on top of the standings with identical 8-1 cards. The Soaring Falcons fell into a tie for sixth place with a 3-6 record.
After staving off a late Adamson rally in the first set, Ateneo had to muster a quick burst of points in the second frame to quell the Falcons. With Adamson taking a 24-23 lead following a thunderous hit from ace hitter Pao Pablico, the Blue Eagles retaliated with a play for four-time Most Valuable Player Marck Espejo to force a deuce. The Blue Eagles then conspired on a triple block to stop Pablico for set point, before finding an ace from Ron Medalla to cap the set.
The third frame was close until Ateneo broke loose from a 21-all knot. Adamson scored just one more point as Ateneo blitzed the Falcons with three aces in their closing run.
“Adamson really gave us a good game. Kita, on our end, na there are still things that we need to work on. We’re just very happy for the win and we need to keep improving,” said Ateneo head coach Oliver Almadro.
Espejo finished with 23 points and 17 excellent receptions while Ron Medalla managed 15 markers to pace the Blue Eagles.
Pablico towed the Soaring Falcons, piling up 18 points.
Both squads take on their next assignments on Saturday at the FilOil Flying V Centre. Ateneo faces the FEU Tamaraws (6-2) while Adamson has the UP Fighting Maroons (3-5).
ADMU (3) – Espejo 23, Medalla 15, Baysa 10, Njigha 9, Polvorosa 4, Glorioso 2, Morado 0, Rivera 0, Trinidad 0, Sumanguid (L)
AdU (0) – Pablico 18, Yude 7, Bello 5, Miranda 5, Alvarez 4, Amburgo 2, Nuguid 0, Melgar (L)
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