The UST Tiger Spikers notched their second win in as many games in a victory against the ADMU Blue Eagles, 20-25, 25-22, 17-25, 25-20, 15-12 held at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The Blue Eagles and the Tiger Spikers showcased a tight and grueling opening set as both teams’ defense stood tall. Marck Espejo pioneered Ateneo’s scoring with six quick points during the first set.
UST’s unforced errors piled up and that hurt their chances of grabbing the initial canto. Ateneo ended up winning the set by five capped by a powerful back row attack courtesy of Ysay Marasigan.
The Tiger Spikers started the second set with sharpened defense as their blocks started coming early. UST limited Ateneo’s spikers in the second as they held the lead for majority of the set. The Tiger Spikers capitalized on crucial errors by Ateneo, leading to a three-point close-out by UST.
Unlike their first loss against Adamson, the Katipunan-based spikers cruised during the third set with a balanced scoring effort from the squad. Ateneo countered UST’s second set defense with their own version during the third to limit the Tiger Spikers, in an effort anchored by Espejo and Rex Intal.
UST’s floor defense worked effective enough to dictate the tempo in the fourth set. The duo of Mark Alfafara and captain Romnick Rico led the offense to help UST make their comeback. Timely aces and blocks propelled the Tiger Spikers to a fourth set victory en route to a deciding fifth set.
Both teams unleashed a flurry of spikes as a number of lead changes occurred in the last set. Fortunately for UST, their defense was enough to cement the victory.
Ateneo led the attacking department with a 62-47 spike discrepancy. On the other hand, UST displayed more blocks, 15-8 and edged Ateneo in terms of service aces, 6-4.
Alfafara led UST with 22 markers, 20 of which came from attacks. Rico added 20. For Ateneo, it was Espejo who took charge in scoring with 25 points while Marasigan and Intal chipped in 18 and 17 points respectively.
With the win, UST improves to a 2-0 record while Ateneo drops to a 1-2 win-loss slate.
UST and Ateneo’s next assignment in the first round will be against the UP Fighting Maroons on December 3 and 6 respectively, both at the San Juan Arena.
UST- Alfafara 22, Rico 20, Sarabia 11, Castillo 5, Bautista 3, Lopez 3, Guzman 2, Tajanlangit 1, Dela Cruz 1, Pangan(L) 0, Francisco(L) 0
ADMU- Espejo 25, Marasigan 18, Intal 17, Rivera I. 7, Villanueva 6, Polvorosa 1, Bello 0, Posadas 0, Santos 0, Baysa 0, Rivera B.(L) 0