MANILA, Philippines – Ateneo de Manila University coach Oliver Almadro heaped praises on the pair of Marck Espejo and Ish Polvorosa after they were once again hailed as two of the best players in UAAP men's volleyball.
For the fourth season in a row, Polvorosa earned Best Setter honors, norming 11.93 excellent sets per frame. Meanwhile, Espejo was named the Most Valuable Player for the fourth year in a row as well. He also nabbed the Best Spiker and Best Scorer honors in the UAAP Season 79 tournament.
Both players were major factors in Ateneo's 14-0 sweep of the elimination round, and the two also shone for the Blue Eagles in their epic come-from-behind win over National University in Game 1 of the men's volleyball Finals last Tuesday.
"The tandem of Ish Polvorosa and Marck Espejo is like Jordan and Pippen, Parker and Duncan, Irving and James," Alamadro told ABS-CBN News. "Coaches like me always wish that we can find a tandem like Marck and Ish."
Since entering the Ateneo volleyball program as rookies in Season 76, Espejo and Polvorosa have conspired to lead the Blue Eagles to the Finals every year, winning the last two championships. Polvorosa was the Finals MVP when they won their first title in Season 77.
Nevertheless, Almadro reserved special praise for Espejo, who put together a statistically dominant season en route to his fourth MVP plum.
"Marck Espejo is an exceptional volleyball player, which is rare in this time. He is really God's gift to me and to the Ateneo volleyball program," said Almadro. "He is really an example of what a volleyball player should be – great on both sides, offense and defense."
For the first time in his UAAP career, Espejo led the league in scoring with a total of 235 points in the elimination round.
He earned Best Spiker honors for the third straight year after converting a truly impressive 57.62% of his spikes. For comparison, the next most efficient scorer, Far Eastern University's Greg Dolor, converted 48.17% of his attempts.
Espejo also ranked third in blocks (0.64 per set), second in aces (0.38 per set), and was the third most efficient receiver in the league at 56.51%.
"He is humble, hardworking, a team player, and a responsible Ateneo student," Almadro also said of Espejo. "Definitely, his fourth straight MVP award says it all. In the simplest term – 'There will never be another like Marck.'"
Espejo and Polvorosa return to action on Saturday, when they try to lead the Blue Eagles to a sweep of the Bulldogs and a third straight men's volleyball title.
(For more sports coverage, visit the ABS-CBN Sports website.)