Baron, Espejo bag MVP plum

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Lady Spiker Mary Joy Baron
PHOTO BY BOB DUNGO JR.

De La Salle University’s Mary Joy Baron bagged the women’s Most Valuable Player (MVP) award while Ateneo de Manila University’s Marck Jesus Espejo earned his fourth straight men’s MVP plum in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines volleyball tournament.

Baron, last year’s Best Blocker, had an average of 10.7 points per game during the elimination round.

Fellow La Salle standout Kim Fajardo claimed the Best Setter and Best Server awards while Dawn Nicole Macandili was named Best Receiver.

National University (NU) middle hitter Jaja Santiago took the Best Scorer, Best Spiker and Best Blocker honors after averaging 19.14 points per game. She collected 195 attacks, 49 blocks and 24 aces in the 14-game elimination round.


Santiago, however, was eliminated in the MVP race after failing to steer the Lady Bulldogs to a Final Four appearance.

Juliane Marie Samonte of Ateneo secured the Rookie of the Year.

Baron, Fajardo and Macandili will be extra motivated when they face Ateneo de Manila University in Game 2 of the best of-three championship series on Saturday at the Araneta Coliseum.

La Salle holds a 1-0 series lead after scoring a 21-25, 29-27, 25-22, 25-20 win in Game 1 on Tuesday.

Besides the MVP honors, Espejo was also named the Best Scorer and Best Spiker.

The other awardees in the men’s division are Far Eastern University’s John Paul Bugaoan (Best Blocker) and Rikko Marius Marmeto (Best Receiver); NU’s Bryan Bagunas (Best Server) and Ricky Marcos (Best Digger); and Ateneo’s Esmilzo Joner Polvorosa (Best Setter) and Chumason Celistine Njigha (Rookie of the Year).

Ateneo also moved closer to clinching its third-straight title following its 25-22, 21-25, 22-25, 18-25, 15-13 win over NU in Game 1 of the best-of-three finals.

The Game 2 of the Ateneo-NU is on Saturday at 12 noon to be followed by the official awarding of individual honors at 3 p.m.

EMIL C. NOGUERA

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