Eagles clip Tigers, gain S Turf semis playoff

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Ateneo picked up another straight-set romp, this time sweeping University of Santo Tomas, 25-16, 25-15, 25-21, to assure itself of at least a tie for one of the semifinal berths in Group B of the Spikers’ Turf Season 2 Collegiate Conference at The Arena in San Juan on Saturday.

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The Eagles just played good enough to dispose of the Tigers in a duel of unbeaten teams in 62 minutes with no player churning out a double-digit output. Marck Espejo’s eight hits, including six attack points, Alexis Villanueva and Ysrael Marasigan’s identical seven markers, and Paul Koyfman and Rex Intal’s combined 12 hits proved sufficient to power the defending champions to their fourth straight victory as the Tigers sputtered with their attacks and struggled with their reception.

Ateneo, which also clobbered San Bed and, National College of Business and Arts in straight sets and beat Emilio Aguinaldo College in four, produced 32 spikes, four more than the Tigers but had eight blocks as against their rivals two to fashion out the lopsided victory.

That also moved Ateneo within one win from sweeping the single round elims and formalize its stint in the Final Four. The Eagles close out their elims campaign against the UP Maroons on Aug. 29.

Earlier, National U repulsed St. Benilde, 25-16, 24-26, 25-11, 25-21, to likewise bolster its own semis bid in Group A with a 3-1 card, behind Perpetual Help’s 3-0 card.

Bryan Bagunas and Madzlan Gampong fired 21 hits apiece as the Bulldogs unleashed an imposing 62-spike effort against the Blazers, who could only dish out 43 spikes, including 22 from the power-hitting Johnvic De Guzman.

With its fourth straight loss, St. Benilde bowed out of the race along with Philippine Merchant Marine Schoop (0-2), leaving the fight for Far Eastern U and La Salle, which tote identical 2-1 slates.

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