Ish Polvorosa's playmaking propels Ateneo to the Finals in his last year
MANILA, Philippines – Four-time UAAP Best Setter Ish Polvorosa was the mastermind of the Ateneo Blue Eagles' success in overcoming the twice-to-beat advantage of the Far Eastern University (FEU) Tamaraws for the Finals berth on Wednesday, April 25
After loading up Marck Espejo to convert 55 of his 112 scoring attempts in Game 1 of the semis, Polvorosa studied the strengths and weaknesses of both teams that eventually brought out the best of his teammates in Wednesday's game.
"As much as possible [ang game plan ay] makatulong sa pag-produce ng points yung buong team, ang iba naming teammates, ang iba naming spikers para mas gumaan yung dadalhin ni Marck and ng buong team in general," explained Polvorosa.
(The game plan was to help the team – my other teammates and our other spikers – produce points as much as possible in order to lighten up the burden of Marck and the whole team in general.)
Polvorosa made an average of 10 excellents per frame to orchestrate the offense. Espejo still carried the load with his 37 points, but Blue Eagles Ron Medalla, Karl Baysa and Chumason Njigha stepped up and combined for a total of 24 points with the help of Polvorosa.
Both Espejo and Polvorosa entered Ateneo in 2013 and the tandem has helped the team rise to prominence from its dark ages. Season 80 will mark the 5th straight year that Ateneo will be facing National University (NU) in the UAAP men's volleyball finals.
With their past successes, the best setter is motivated every single day to make sure that his stint will not end prematurely just because FEU had the semis advantage.
"Ayoko na ito ang last game ko. Hindi ako maglalaro ng last game ko sa MOA, hindi ako maglalaro ng last game ko sa San Juan Arena. Lalaruin ko ang last games ko sa Araneta," said Polvorosa.
(I don't want this to be my last game. I'm not going to play my last game in MOA, I'm not going to play my last game in San Juan Arena. I'm going to play my last games in Araneta.)
Blue Eagles head coach Oliver Almadro also added that Polvorosa himself was the one who reminded him to be positive heading into the game, even though the playmaker has a tendency to be pessimistic at times.
"Kapag siya ang nagpapa-alala sa akin to be positive, ibig sabihin, kontrolado niya. So as long as kontrolado ni Ish ang team ko, we will never go wrong. I really trust Ish," said Almadro.
(If Ish reminds me to be positive, that means that he is in control. As long as Ish is in control of the team, we will never go wrong. I really trush Ish.)
The Ateneo Blue Eagles will clash with the NU Bulldogs on Saturday, April 28, 12nn, at the Smart Araneta Coliseum. – Rappler.com