MANILA, Philippines – The Ateneo Blue Eagles stunned the defending champions National University (NU) Bulldogs in the UAAP Season 76 men’s volleyball tournament last Saturday to fire a warning shot to the rest of the league.
Behind a 20-point output from rookie star Marck Espejo, Ateneo turned back NU in just three sets, 25-21, 26-24 and 25-23, in their second-round encounter at the Arena in San Juan.
The Bulldogs had swept the first round, but Ateneo battered their floor defense throughout, with Espejo being especially effective against NU, scoring the key points in the extended second set after the defending champions rallied.
Season 75 Finals MVP Peter Torres was held to a season-low output of four points.
Despite the loss, NU still remained on top of the league standings with a 7-1 record. Ateneo, meanwhile, improved to 5-3.
In another game, the De La Salle University Spikers swept the University of the Philippines, 25-18, 25-17, and 25-22.
Red Christensen scored 19 points for the Green Spikers, who improved to 3-5.
Last Sunday, the Far Eastern University (FEU) Tamaraws avenged their first-round loss against Adamson by sweeping the Falcons, 25-23, 25-23 and 25-23.
Karl dela Calzada powered FEU with 14 points, while Alexis Faytaren added 11 points as the Tamaraws improved to 6-2, good for second place.
Meanwhile, University of Santo Tomas needed four sets to beat the University of the East, 25-17, 25-15, 20-25, and 28-26.
Mark Alfafara fired 26 points to power the Tigers, who hiked their record to 4-4 while sending the Red Warriors to their eighth consecutive loss this season.