MANILA, Philippines—Cignal wing spiker Wendel Miguel lauded Marck Espejo for being his mentor as they reclaimed the Spikers’ Turf Open Conference championship with a perfect 15-game title run.
Espejo was crowned as Finals MVP after averaging 26.0 points in two games against the Cotabato Spikers but he deflected the credit to Miguel and setter EJ Casana, whom he believed were the missing links in last year’s runner-up finish.
Miguel, who scored six of his 16 points in the fifth set of their title-clinching 25-21, 22-25, 25-17, 28-30, 15-7 win over Cotabato last week at Rizal Memorial Coliseum, was overwhelmed by the praise of Espejo.
“It’s overwhelming because it was Marck who said it. Marck is one of the players from our team that I look up to,” said Miguel in Filipino after also winning the 2nd Best Outside Spiker.
The University of the Philippines standout, who went up against Espejo and the Ateneo Blue Eagles during their UAAP careers, bared that the five-time Spikers’ Turf MVP took him under his wing.
“He was patient with me. He always teaches me about the things that I need to do inside the court and new things that I can add to my game,” said Miguel. “When my game is off, he remains calm.”
“It really feels good that Marck said that [I also deserve the Finals MVP award],” he added.
But for Miguel, the whole HD Spikers are all MVPs as they swept all 15 games to bounce back from a Finals loss to National University last season.
“For me, the whole team, my coaches, and teammates are MVPs. No one from our team gave up. When I look at them not giving in, I was fueled and told myself that there is no reason to doubt myself,” he said. “I’m thankful to my teammates because they are very patient in games and training. They always got my back so I dedicate my Game 2 performance to them.”
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