Posted Mar 10th 2015
Blue Eagles seek to bag first-ever men's crown
By Mark Escarlote Posted Mar 7th 2015
The Ateneo de Manila Blue Eagles go for the jugular on Saturday and dethrone the defending champion National University Bulldogs in Game 2 of the best-of-three 77th UAAP men’s volleyball finals series at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Game time set at 2:00 p.m.
The Blue Eagles got themselves on the brink of a breakthrough title last Wednesday with an impressive 25-19, 30-28, 20-25, 25-22, victory in the opener over the same team that swept Ateneo in two games in the finale last year.
“I hope ma-sustain namin (ang momentum ng panalo) hanggang Game 2,” said Ateneo coach Oliver Almadro. “Baka ito na ang history for Ateneo, na first championship in the UAAP.”
Reigning Most Valuable Player Marck Espejo unleashed a season-high 31 points the last time out. Skipper Ysrael Marasigan smashed in 15 spikes for a total of 22 points while Ishmael Rivera had nine points for the Blue Eagles, who got their first championship series win and third straight against the Bulldogs this season.
Ateneo will again rely on Esmilzo Polvorosa’s big role in playmaking for the Katipunan-based squad after distributing 57 excellent sets in Game 1.
Focus of the Bulldogs’ defense against Espejo is expected to intensify, as NU mentor Dante Alinsunurin pointed out their obvious mistake in the series opener.
“Kailangan ma-stop naming yung Espejo. Di kasi naming siya napigilan nu’ng Game 1,” Alinsunurin said.
Although they played well in Game 1, Peter Torres, Rueben Inaudito, Berlin Paglinawan and Edwin Tolentino must elevate their performance for the Bulldogs, who are on the verge of losing the crown they held for two years.
Game 3, if necessary is on Wednesday.
The game will air live on ABS-CBN Sports+Action channel 23, BALLS HD SkyCable 167, sports.abs-cbn.com/livestream, uaaplivestream.uaapsports.tv, iwantv.com, TFC Bro and tfc.tv with a same day replay at 8 p.m. on BALLS SkyCable channel 34/ Destiny Cable channel 36.
Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles