TWO-time defending champion Ateneo imposed its mastery over National University, 27-25, 25-23, 23-25, 25-16, in the UAAP Season 79 men’s volleyball tournament at The Arena in San Juan.
The Blue Eagles again leaned on Marck Espejo in the rematch between the two teams that clashed in the Finals for the past two seasons.
Espejo, who could go for his fourth straight MVP award, sparked on both offense and defense as he fired 18 points, 10 excellent sets and seven digs in a match that took two hours and five minutes to finish.
Russian American Tony Koyfman imposed his might at the net as he came up with 15 points, while Rex Intal added eight markers for Ateneo.
“Noted naman namin ang mga mistakes namin at pagkakamali this day. What's important is all of my players delivered,” said Ateneo coach Oliver Almadro.
The Blue Eagles improved to 2-0 win-loss record and will face FEU on Sunday.
Bryan Bagunas made 23 points for NU, while Season 78 Rookie of the Year James Natividad and Fauzi Ismail scored eight markers apiece.
The Bulldogs, who have not won against Ateneo since Season 76, were careless the entire match giving away 41 points courtesy of their errors.
NU dropped to 1-1 and will face winless Adamson on Sunday.
Meanwhile, Far Eastern University escaped Adamson, 25-22, 25-19, 28-30, 25-27, 15-10.
Greg Dolor led FEU with 19 points, while Jude Garcia added 17, Peter Quiel chipped in 14 points, Richard Solis made 13 and John Paul Bugaoan added 12 as the Tamaraws took the lead with a 2-0 win-loss record.
Jerome Sarmiento's 30-point game went down the drain as Adamson fell to a 0-2 win-loss record.
Pablo Pablico contributed 13 points and skipper Michael Sudaria finished with 11 for the Falcons.