The Blue Eagles of Ateneo de Manila University came back from being down a set to defeat the National University Bulldogs, 23-25, 25-20, 25-17, 25-18, and moved one step closer to bagging their second title in men’s volleyball championship at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum on Saturday.
Ateneo regrouped in the succeeding sets and relied on their solid defense and firepower to overcome the first frame setback. Reigning MVP Marck Espejo carried the Blue Eagles with 21 points built on 18 attacks, two blocks, and an ace.
One thing that triggered Ateneo’s comeback was captain Ysay Marasigan’s yellow card in the second set, the first in his entire UAAP career. His risk paid off as his team went on to win the second frame, 25-20. Marasigan scored 12 points in the match plus the victory in Game 1.
Last year's Finals MVP Ish Polvorosa dished out 58 excellent sets to go with seven markers, while middle hitter Rex Intal finished with 13 markers.
The young NU Bulldogs failed to bank on their first-set win against the defending champions as they succumbed to lots of miscues in the match, including nine in the third set alone. They had a total of 29 errors in the game.
Ruben Baysac and Kim Malabunga led NU with 13 markers each, while James Natividad and Madz Gampong contributed 12 points each.
Ateneo will go for the jugular in Game 2 of the Finals on Wednesday, at the MOA Arena in Pasay City.