Eagles whip Bulldogs, cop Spikers' Turf crown
Joey Villar (The Philippine Star) - September 27, 2015 - 10:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Ateneo came back from a tough third set setback with a dominating show in the fourth as the Eagles hacked out a hard-earned 25-23, 25-21, 38-40, 25-19, victory over the National U Bulldogs yesterday to set a record title sweep in the Spikers’ Turf Collegiate Conference at The Arena in San Juan City.

MVP Marck Espejo redeemed himself from a nine-hit showing in Game One with a 24-point explosion while Rex Intal, Joshua Villanueva, Ysrael Marasigan and John Rivera, libero Manuel Sumanguid III and setter Joner Polvorosa backed him up with superb games as the Eagles nailed the win that capped their unbeaten 13-game title run in the league presented by PLDT Home Ultera.

“I guess 13 is a lucky number for us,” said Ateneo coach Oliver Almadro. “I also would like to think that this win is big since this is the inaugural season of the Spikers’ Turf.”

Unlike in their 25-17, 25-18, 25-19 romp in the series opener last week, however, the Eagles struggled in the face of the Bulldogs’ spirited challenge right from the opening serve and needed to rebound from a back-and-forth third set loss to clinch the victory – and the championship – in two hours.

The victory also augured well for the Eagles’ title-retention drive in the upcoming UAAP.

“I dedicate all my individual awards to the team because I wouldn’t have won any of these without the help of my teammates,” said Espejo, who also won the Finals MVP honors.

After getting outhit in Game One, 36-31, the Eagles imposed their will and strength upfront, scoring 67 attack points against the Bulldogs’ 55 and knocked in five aces against their rivals’ single ace. NU, however, produced 10 blocks, two more than the Eagles, who made up for the slack with sustained attack from both sides and back row.

Bryan Bagunas fired 22 hits while Madzlan Gampong had 15, James Natividad stepped up to deliver 12 points and Francis Saura added 10 hits. But the Bulldogs failed to ride on their tough third set win and succumbed to the Eagles’ early attacks in the fourth.

Meanwhile, Emilio Aguinaldo College also repeated over NCBA, 25-14, 25-21, 25-19, to claim third place honors in the league backed by Mikasa last Saturday.

 

ACIRC ATENEO BRYAN BAGUNAS BUT THE BULLDOGS EAGLES EMILIO AGUINALDO COLLEGE FRANCIS SAURA GAME ONE HOME ULTERA JAMES NATIVIDAD JONER POLVOROSA
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