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Ateneo survives San Beda spikers

Games Saturday
(The Arena, San Juan City)
8 a.m. – Ateneo vs UST (m)
10 a.m. – La Salle vs FEU (m)
4 p.m. – Adamson vs Arellano (w)
6:30 p.m. – FEU vs Ateneo (w)

Two-time defending champion Ateneo survived San Beda’s last-minute assault in posting a 25-23, 25-16, 27-25 victory yesterday in the men’s division of the Premier Volleyball League Collegiate Conference at The Arena in San Juan City.

Locked at 25-all in the third frame, the Eagles displayed championship poise with Chumasong Njingha’s quick attack and a block from freshman Gian Glorioso sealing the 65-minute match.

The win gave Ateneo its second straight to tie University of Santo Tomas for the early lead.

Mark Espejo led the Eagles with 15 points, all from attacks, while Glorioso added 13 points highlighted by four blocks.

Njigha, last season’s UAAP Rookie of the Year, finished with seven points.

“San Beda is a really good team. Pero siguro, pinakita lang namin yung maturity namin nung bandang huli,” said Ateneo coach Oliver Almadro, who mentored the same Eagles squad that won back-to-back UAAP titles.

Ateneo overpowered SBC by swatting away seven blocks and limiting the Lions to 34 kills. The Eagles also blasted the Lions with 49 hits.

Credit is also due veteran setter Ish Polvorosa, who provided Ateneo’s spikers with 33 excellent sets.

Limuel Patenio scored 10 points for San Beda, which slipped to 0-2 following a three-set loss to National University (NU) four days back.

Meanwhile, Far Eastern University stunned last year’s finalist NU, 25-23, 21-25, 25-21, 14-25, 15-13.

John Paul Bugaoan exploded with 22 points for the Tamaraws, who escaped the Bulldogs’ rock-solid net defense of 18 blocks.

Richard Solis and Jude Garcia also stepped up for FEU with 15 and 13 points, respectively, while libero Rikko Marmeto took charge of their floor defense by finishing with 17 digs.

The win evened FEU’s win-loss tally at 1-1 and tied their rival in the standings.