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UP, Ateneo blank foes in men's volley

By Josiah Albelda Posted Dec 4th 2013

The University of the Philippines opened its bid for a return to the UAAP Men's Volleyball Final Four with a win over the University of Santo Tomas.

University of the Philippines took advantage of an error-prone University of Santo Tomas crew to run away with a four-set decision in the 76th UAAP men's volleyball tournament Wednesday at the FilOil Flying V Arena.

The Fighting Maroons upended the Tiger Spikers, 25-23, 22-25, 25-17, 25-23, to open their bid for a return to the Final Four with a bang.

Julius Raymundo and Wendel Miguel starred for the Diliman-based squad, scoring 17 and 16 points, respectively, as UP pounced on the 35 unforced errors committed by UST in taking the match.

Although outhit by 15, the Fighting Maroons limited their miscues to 20 while also delivering seven service aces and coming up with 16 killed blocks -- eight of them from Raymundo.

Reigning co-MVP Mark Gil Alfafara and Romnick Rico each scored 20 markers for the Tiger Spikers, who are trying to atone for a disappointing fifth-place finish in Season 75.

In the second game, Ateneo de Manila University also made some noise by sweeping University of the East, 25-22, 25-19, 25-14.

Both teams missed the playoffs last year, but the Blue Spikers were by far the more impressive crew in both squads' Season 76 debut.

Ateneo nailed 42 of their 83 spike attempts -- a staggering 51% -- even as they held the Red Warriors to a paltry 22 of 73 (30%) clip.

Ricci Gonzales led all scorers with 17 points while Josh Villanueva and Marck Espejo each posted 10 for the Blue Spikers.