Spikers’ Turf: Ateneo notches first win after withstanding Army
MANILA, Philippines — Kennedy Batas showed the way for Ateneo-Fudgee Barr to end a three-game skid as it took down a veteran Army-Katinko side, 32-30, 25-15, 18-25, 25-15, to stay in the semifinals hunt in the 2022 Spikers’ Turf Open Conference on Saturday at Paco Arena.
Batas delivered 17 points off 14 attacks, two blocks, and an ace as the Blue Eagles earned their first win in three games after a grueling one-hour and 57-minute game against the Troopers, who remained winless in four matches.
“We didn’t let the pressure get the better of us even we are facing a team that has more experience in playing volleyball. We didn’t treat it as a disadvantage, we took it as an opportunity,” said Batas in Filipino.
“I’m. happy that I applied the things I learned from training and we just trusted our system,” he added.
Amil Pacino unloaded 16 points and had 23 excellent receptions. Setter Emmanuel Go made 18 excellent sets. Jian Salarzon chipped in 15 points, while Jetlee Gopio added 11 markers as Ateneo banked on a team effort to escape the long first set and recover from a third set loss to register its first victory in its return this pandemic era.
“I’m happy that we finally won. Because for the past three games, us coaches, saw the potential of this team that these kids can win and play well but it’s different when it comes to the game there is pressure and everything,” said Ateneo coach Timmy Sto. Tomas in Filipino.
“We really had to minimize our errors going into this game. I’m happy that they responded to the things we talked about from our past few games.”
The Blue Eagles improved to 1-3, tying Sta. Rosa City Lions at No.5. They will face their former star and five-time UAAP MVP Marck Espejo and the Cignal HD Spikers (3-0) on Thursday next week at 5:30 p.m.
Army fell on the brink of elimination after falling to 0-4 as it fights for its life against Sta. Rosa also on Thursday at 2:30 p.m.
Madz Gampong lifted the Troopers with 14 points, including three blocks, as their leading scorer Jaylo Labide was limited to just six markers in another loss.