MANILA, Philippines – Widely regarded as the best men's volleyball player in the country, Ateneo de Manila University star Marck Espejo firmly etched his name into UAAP history with a sublime performance in the UAAP Season 80 Final 4.
With the Blue Eagles in a win-or-go home situation against Far Eastern University, Espejo put the team on his back and exploded for 55 points – a UAAP record – in a 18-25, 25-13, 24-26, 25-23, 15-9 triumph last April 21.
His incredible performance helped Ateneo force a do-or-die game, which they won in four sets with Espejo scoring 37 points.
While the Blue Eagles lost to National University in the best-of-three finals, there was no doubt that Espejo's scoring outburst in the semifinals was among the most memorable moments of the entire UAAP season.
Looking back at his record-setting game, Espejo said: "Noong game na 'yun, hindi ko iniisip 'yung mismong game talaga. Iniisip ko, 'yung training after ng game."
"Kasi siyempre, 'di ba, parang may mindset ka na kailangan, may training pa after nito," he added during a one-on-one interview with TJ Manotoc on "The Score."
Espejo scored 47 of his points through kills, while adding six blocks and two aces. He had 11 of Ateneo's 15 points in the fifth set, single-handedly outscoring the entire FEU team in the deciding frame.
The five-time UAAP MVP maintains that he was unaware of his scoring total until the game was over.
"Hindi ko talaga siya napansin," said Espejo. "Si Coach O (Oliver Almadro), minsan may times na nagagalit talaga siya kay Ish (setter Ish Polvorosa), kasi may mga bolang hindi daw nabibigay sa akin."
"Pero sobra-sobra na pala talaga," added the open spiker, who swung at the ball a whopping 81 times in the five-set match.
"Akala namin, mga 30-plus points lang," Espejo also said. "Paglabas ng stat sheet, oh wow, 55 pala."
For the full interview – where Espejo also looked back on his career and revealed his dreams for his volleyball future – watch the video below:
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