The soft-spoken hard-hitter: Howard Mojica of EAC Menís Volleyball Team
Ceej Tantengco on Dec 05, 2015 08:53 AM
Meet EAC's star hitter, Howard Mojica!
Howard Mojica is one of the most powerful spikers in the NCAA Men’s Volleyball Tournament, but you’d never guess it by how chill he is off the court. Compliment him on his numerous accomplishments from Season 90 and he’ll scratch his head: “Chamba lang.”
Luck has nothing to do with it—not when his devastating spikes led the EAC Generals to their first ever title, and not when he took home Best Scorer, Best Spiker, Finals MVP, and Season MVP.
It’s hard to imagine that the EAC Generals’ star player only got into the sport five years ago. “Nagba-basketball ako dati. Niyaya lang ako ng kaklase ko [na subukan ang volleyball] tapos nagustuhan ko na,” he shares. These days, the 22-year-old looks up to Mariusz Łukasz Wlazły and Bartosz Kamil Kurek of the Poland Men’s National Volleyball Team for the former’s high leaps and the latter’s signature wrist flick.
For all he’s accomplished, Choy—as Howard is known to his friends—remains humble and deflects to coach Rod Palermo for taking the reins of the team. “Parang militar,” he laughs. “Strikto siya sa oras. Tsaka kung may ipapagawa siya, dapat sumunod ka agad. ‘Follow first before you complain.’” Coach Rod has been with the EAC Generals for half a decade now, and so far, it’s paid off. “Kitang-kita na gumagaling kaming lahat,” he adds. “Basta gagawin namin ‘yung best namin.”
He knows it’ll be an uphill climb to defend the title because Juvie Mangarin, who was last year’s Best Digger and Best Receiver, just graduated from the team.
Volleyball admittedly draws a smaller crowd than basketball among NCAA fans. Choy doesn’t mind. “Hindi [kasikatan] ang dahilan kung bakit kami naglalaro. Wala naman sa amin ‘yun,” he says. How would he invite people to watch more games? “Ewan ko, bibigyan ko siguro [yung audience] ng regalo? Magpapasalamat ako.”
“Wala naman ‘yan sa bilang ng nanonood,” Choy finally says.
Choy is now playing in his final year, and he shares in the responsibility of guiding the younger players. In the Generals’ first match of NCAA Season 91, Choy would bring his teammates into quick huddles on the court, breaking into a grin whenever a point was made.
“Mas malakas line-up namin last year,” he says, “Pero babawiin namin sa motivation.”