Ateneo Blue Eagles keep Finals hope alive with win over FEU
MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – The Ateneo Blue Eagles defeated the Far Eastern University (FEU) Tamaraws for the first time this season to stay in contention for the UAAP Finals berth.
Riding on reigning MVP Marck Espejo's 55-point explosion, the Blue Eagles bested the Tamaraws in 5 sets, 18-25, 25-13, 24-26, 25-23, 15-9, in the Men's Volleyball semi-finals on Saturday, April 21, at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Espejo scored his 50th point in the 5th set to give the Blue Eagles a 3-point cushion, 8-5. In the last stretch of the game, Espejo scored a personal 4-0 run to close out the match.
The 5th year stalwart's 55 points came from 47 spikes, 6 blocks, and two aces. Only Espejo was able to register double digits in the Ateneo roster, while John Rivera added 8 points.
Reigning best setter Ish Polvorosa made 45 excellent sets for Ateneo.
John Paul Bugaoan and Jude Garcia tallied 15 points apiece.
The Tamaraws dominated the first set as they quickly raced to set point, 24-15. The Blue Eagles attempted to rally back by scoring 3 straight points off the block, but Rivera's attack went out.
The Blue Eagles capitalized on FEU's collapse in the second set as they locked down the Tamaraws to single digit, 21-9. The Tamaraws attempted to spark a comeback by taking 3 points after Ateneo nabbed set point. Espejo closed out the second set for the Blue Eagles to even the match.
Both teams fought tooth-and-nail for the lead in the 3rd set as Espejo extended the set. FEU managed to escape the stalemate and earn a 2-1 lead in the match.
FEU was on its way to a finals berth, but the Blue Eagles denied them with a 4th set win as Espejo's efforts brought the game to a deciding set.
The Blue Eagles now have the chance to overcome FEU's twice-to-beat advantage on Wednesday, April 25, at the Filoil Flying V Arena.
Ateneo (3) – Espejo 55, Rivera 8, Glorioso 6, Medalla 5, Njigha 5, Polvorosa 2, Baysa 1.
FEU (2) – Garcia 15, Bugaoan 15, Paler 12, Quiel 8, Suarez 7, Solis 5.