Tony Koyfman bowed out in the previous season, but he sure makes up for what he missed in Season 80 now that he’s back in action to play for the Ateneo Blue Eagles men’s volleyball team.
In their game against La Salle on Wednesday, March 27, returning 6-foot-8 spiker Tony Koyfman proved instrumental in offense, after having tallied 20 kills off his 22 points. It only took three straight sets for Ateneo to finish the Archers and earn solo third in standing, with 6-3 win-loss record.
Koyfman is undoubtedly the team’s number one option on attack. Without five-time MVP Marck Espejo and star-setter Ish Polvorosa, the 24-year-old is, by far and as expected, one of the lead performers in Ateneo’s bid for redemption. The Blue Eagles settled as runner-ups in last year’s Finals, succumbing to the champion Bulldogs of National University (NU).
Before we see him fight tooth and nail against their ultimate rival this Saturday, March 30, let’s get to know his thoughts about the defending champions, Ateneo’s chances of winning, and his Final Four predictions.
What inspired you to get into volleyball?
It just happened suddenly. I was a baseball player in high school. I was growing at the time, I was around 6’5, and I thought, ‘Why not try volleyball? See what it’s all about?’ It just changed my world once I got into the team.
How did you get recruited in Ateneo?
It was thanks to my girlfriend. She thought, ‘Why not try the Philippines?’ considering that I was in two previous colleges. The first one was DI (Division 1) called Belmont Abbey College. Then I played in Brooklyn which is a DIII (Division 3) college. After playing one year each, I decided to try Ateneo. It’s been the best decision yet.
Who’s your biggest volleyball inspiration?
There are just so many. But I guess I’ll still leave it to Marck Espejo because even though I’m older than him, it just amazes me how he pushes himself and still manages to overcome all obstacles and just truly be the leader that I really admire.
Who’s the alumnus whom you miss playing volleyball with?
I miss playing with everyone, from Karl Baysa, to Marck, Rex (Intal), Josh (Villanueva), Ish. Like the whole Season 79 crew. We had a whole another level of intensity. If we played more internationally, we could have actually gone very far.
Who’s the volleyball player from other team/s whom you enjoy playing with the most?
I would have to say Bryan Bagunas of NU. I really respect the fact that he has so much talent, he’s so skinny, he’s so tall, and yet he puts in so much effort to everything that he does, scoring + 20 points every single game, that’s magnificent. Really nice guy.
Which teams do you think will make it to the Final Four in men’s?
Obviously NU, they’re really strong. FEU is definitely proven to be a force within the first round. I also hope for us, Ateneo, though we have a long way to go. And I guess, UST, because they definitely improved within their time.
What about in women’s?
Obviously La Salle and Ateneo. UST is definitely getting there. And UP, you can’t rule out UP.
If ever your team gets into the Finals, which team would you like compete against?
I’d still say NU. I don’t want it any other way. Not because we know their strategy but because we always bring out our best game against them, for sure.
Special thanks to John Cas.
Featured image by Roc Verdera.
Photos from The Guidon.
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— UAAP 81 Women’s Volleyball Preview: Rookies on the Rise (NU, UE, UP, UST)
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