Marck Espejo, Bryan Bagunas star as Ateneo and NU score straight-set wins in UAAP volley opener
Marck Espejo and the Ateneo Blue Eagles shake off a slow start to beat UST. 

ATENEO and National University scored straight-set wins to start the UAAP Season 79 volleyball tournament on Saturday at the Araneta Coliseum.

The Blue Eagles downed University of Santo Tomas, 25-23, 25-14, 25-18, while NU beat University of the East, 25-23, 25-10, 25-19.

Three-time MVP Mark Espejo had 13 points with 11 kills, while Joshua Villanueva and rookie Tony Koyfman added eight markers apiece for Ateneo.

“‘Yun lang ang nakita kong maganda sa team namin, ’yung resiliency, kasi noong first set, we were in a hurry,” said Ateneo coach Oliver Almadro. “Kasi ang mantra namin, from the previous years we always start slow.”

“So ngayon, we want to start strong, but the tendency is nagmadali. So I guess, a couple of errors, a couple of miscommunications, but ’yung resiliency at ’yung composure ng team, ’yun ang nag pay off in that first set for us, kaya nakuha namin ang first set,” he added.

Manuel Medina had eight points for UST.

Meanwhile, Bryan Bagunas put on a show for NU, firing 22 points.

The Bulldogs, runners-up the past two seasons, got nine points from James Natividad, seven from Francis Saura, while Kim Malabunga and Madzlan Gampong had six points each.

Team captain Edward Camposano registered 14 points for UE.


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