EVEN not in full strength, reigning UAAP champion Ateneo still proved too much for rival De La Salle, 25-15, 25-23, 19-25, 25-23, in the Spikers’ Turf Collegiate Conference at The Arena in San Juan on Wednesday.
Skipper Ysay Marasigan led the Blue Eagles with 19 points, while UAAP back-to-back MVP Marck Espejo added 16 and Joshua Villanueva chipped in with 15 points.
Winning coach Oliver Almadro though is far from satisfied, saying veteran players Marasigan, Espejo, and Rex Intal were lacking in intensity during the one hour, 49-minute match.
“Kulang pa kami sa cohesiveness as a team sa ngayon,” said Almadro. “Kanina medyo hindi kami aggressive. Si Mark hindi aggressive. Si Rex, si Ysay hindi sila aggressive.”
“Ayaw ko namang sabihin na overconfident, pero hindi lang sila aggressive because talagang sa practices ang pinukpok namin ay ‘yung mga bago talaga,” he added.
“Pero siyempre kailangan pa rin nilang maging aggressive para gayahin ng mga bata. ‘Yun ang kulang namin in this game.”
Almadro gave Ateneo rookies some playing time, fielding in Ron Medalla, a freshman out of University of the East, libero Manuel Sumanguid, along with redshirting middle blocker Anthony Koyfman.
Medalla had four points in his debut, the same output of Koyfman, a Russian-American.
“Kailangan kong isabay ‘yung mga rookies at saka ‘yung mga bago sa sistema ng team. Ang plano ko talaga gamitin ang mga bago para makahalo sa sistema nila,” said Almadro.
Following the win, Ateneo joins University of the Philippines on top of Group B with a 1-0 slate.
John Onia made 19 points, while team captain Raymark Woo had 15 markers for the Green Archers (0-1).