Eagles whip Bulldogs, near Spikers’ Turf crown
Ateneo asserted its might in a big way, walloping National University, 25-17, 25-18, 25-19, Sunday to gain headway in the Spikers’ Turf Season 1 Collegiate Conference finals at The Arena in San Juan.
Rex Intal was the dominant force anew on the floor with 15 hits and seven blocks as the Blue Eagles took the best-of-three series opener after cashing in on the miscues of the Bulldogs.
Marck Jesus Espejo, earlier named Most Valuable Player of the conference, patrolled the net with impunity, combining for 25 hits with Ysrael Marasigan and Karl Baysa.
“I always remind the players that if we don’t work and play hard, we will lose,” said Ateneo coach Oliver Almandro, whose Blue Eagles are one win away from pulling off an impressive 13-game sweep of the tournament.
Game 2 is set next Sunday. Agonizing to contain the Eagles, the Bulldogs made it even worse for themselves by lapsing into several net violations and service errors in the deciding set.
Bryan Bagunas had 10 hits and Fauzi Ismail added eight for the Bulldogs, who pulled within 16-17 in the final frame only to lose their grip on consecutive attack errors and Ateneo’s service aces.
Marasigan finished the Bulldogs off with three straight service aces as the Eagles duplicated the Lady Eagles’ earlier win.
Ateneo setter Ish Polvorosa produced 24 excellent sets despite missing practice due to high fever a day earlier.
“Thankfully, it wasn’t dengue; it was just a viral infection,” said Almandro.
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