MANILA, Philippines – After racking up four consecutive emphatic victories, the Ateneo Blue Eagles are bracing for a tough stretch as they gun for a sweep of the elimination round of the Premier Volleyball League Collegiate Conference.
The Blue Eagles have lost only one set in their first four assignments, and are just three matches away from completing an elimination round sweep.
Far Eastern University remains the only team to have taken a set off Ateneo when they stunned the Blue Eagles in the opening frame of their September 3 match.
But the reigning UAAP champions comfortably won the next three frames, and followed it up with straight-set wins over San Beda, University of Santo Tomas, and College of St. Benilde.
Ace spiker Marck Espejo has been superb as usual, leading the PVL in scoring with 76 points, 68 of which have come off attacks. The four-time UAAP MVP is connecting on an impressive 60.71% of his attempts, while teammate Ishmael Rivera is second with a 48.61% kill percentage.
Meanwhile, Ish Polvorosa is leading all setters with 10.62 sets per frame, and libero Manuel Sumanguid III is the top receiver with a 58.4% efficiency.
As a team, Ateneo is also tops in spikes with 45.36 percent success, in serves with 1.46 average, and in setting and receives with 10.85 norm and 52.75 percent efficiency, respectively.
It is only in the blocking department that Ateneo has fallen behind, as their average of 2.09 kill blocks per set ranks seventh in the eight-team field.
They gun for No. 5 on Saturday against Katipunan neighbor UP, which totes a 1-2 card before facing archrival La Salle, with a 2-2 card, next Saturday. Ateneo closes out its elims campaign against National U, also struggling with a 1-2 slate, on Sept. 30.
The top four teams after the elims will advance to the crossover semis with the winners of the best-of-three series disputing the crown in another best-of-three affair.
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