Blue Eagles stop UP Maroons on their track in battle of unbeaten teams in Spikers' Turf
Mark Espejo and the Ateneo Blue Eagles remain unbeaten in three games in the Spikers' Turf. Czeasar Dancel

DEFENDING UAAP champion Ateneo soared to its third consecutive victory as it stopped University of the Philippines on its track, 25-16, 25-14, 25-21, in the Spikers' Turf Collegiate Conference on Monday.

Mark Espejo led the Blue Eagles with 14 points, anchored on 10 spikes, while Rex Intal added 10 and skipper Ysay Marasigan chipped in nine.

“I’m happy sa nilaro ng mga players ko, medyo inspired sila. Kasi unang-una PNG (Philippine National Games) champion ang UP so we really have to prepare for them. So sabi ko don’t take UP lightly kasi UAAP team din 'yan,” said Ateneo coach Oliver Almadro.

The Katipunan based squad, which remained undefeated on top of Group B, fired from all angles as it had more attacks (40-20), while Ish Polvorosa dished out 19 of Ateneo's 22 excellent sets compared to the seven of UP.

Almadro noted the Blue Eagles’ maturity proved to be the big difference in the win, but urged the team to keep on improving.

“It boils down to maturity and mental toughness. Dun magkakatalo so I guess lumabas ang maturity ng mga players ko,” he said. “Hopefully sana mag-improve pa kami, hindi kami pwedeng mag-settle sa ganito.”

Despite getting 11 points from skipper Alfred Valbuena, the Fighting Maroons suffered their first loss in the tournament for a 2-1 record.

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