Blue Eagles enter PVL Finals, beat Tigers in 4 sets
Ateneo bucked a first set gaffe and whipped University of Santo Tomas in four sets, 22-25, 25-22, 31-29, 25-13, to punch its ticket to the men’s finals of the Premier Volleyball League Collegiate Conference Monday at Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan.
Marck Espejo returned and unleashed 23 points, 20 coming off kills, as the Blue Eagles rebounded from their first loss of the tournament to survive the winner-take-all affair in the semifinals.
Gian Carlo Glorioso also provided support with his 11 markers, Ishmael Rivera contributed 10 points, while Ish Polvorosa had 33 excellent sets in the match.
Ateneo coach Oliver Almadro was ecstatic with how his veterans Espejo, Polvorosa, and Karl Baysa delivered despite them splitting time in the UAAP beach volleyball competitions.
“They were coming from beach volleyball, but they still managed to show their leadership,” the outspoken mentor said.
“(UST) really played well and they really played their hearts out today. But maybe, it’s the resiliency of my players coming from a loss. What I admire in my players is their maturity, that when something is happening, something is not going right, they know what to do right away,” he said.
The Blue Eagles aim to win their third straight title in the collegiate conference after winning the last two Spikers’ Turf championships.
Joshua Umandal fired 20 points for UST, while Manuel Medina got 12, as the Growling Tigers failed to complete the upset after their stunning 25-22, 25-23, 22-25, 25-21 victory on Saturday.