One win doesn’t make a repeat champion. But Ateneo’s emphatic 25-19, 25-23, 25-18 romp over San Beda on Wednesday augured well for the Loyola-based squad’s title-retention drive in the Spikers’ Turf Season 2 Collegiate Championship.
“We just want to start the conference with a victory and we achieved that,” said Ateneo coach Oliver Almandro.
With an intact roster firmed up by 6-8 Russian-American Anthony Paul Koyfman, the Eagles still loomed as the team to beat in the country’s premier men’s volley league organized by Sports Vision.
Never mind if 11 other teams have also put up equally strong rosters to slug it out for the league’s mid-season conference crown. For Almandro, the more the merrier and the stronger field the better not only for his awesome Eagles but also for the fledgling league.
“It’s noticeable that all the teams are strong, anyone can beat anyone. It’s good for the league and the players because everyone would come out stronger after the competition,” said Almandro.
UAAP and league MVP Marck Espejo is Ateneo’s main man who fired 13 points against the Lions while veteran setter Ish Polvorosa never missed a beat during the off-season and dished out 29 excellent sets.
Bolstering the Eagles’ bid for a repeat is Koyfman, who debuted with 11 hits, including nine attack points, and a couple of stinging service aces.
“He’s doing well and hopefully he’ll get to improve more,” said Almandro of his prized recruit.
Ateneo is bracketed in Group B alongside San Beda (0-1), University of Santo Tomas (1-0), University of the Philippines (1-0), Emilio Aguinaldo College (0-1) and National College of Business and Arts (0-1) while Perpetual Help (1-0), National U (1-0), La Salle (1-0), St. Benilde (0-1), Far Eastern U (0-1) and Phl Merchant Maritime School (0-1).
With the league just on its first week, Ateneo still has a long to go but the Eagles are ready to face and take the challenge the opposition head-on, be it UST, La Salle, EAC, Perpetual, St. Benilde or NU.