Red Spikers clinch last Final Four spot, set to meet the Generals
Mark Escarlote on Jan 12, 2016 05:20 PM
From a forgettable outing last year, San Beda bounced back in NCAA Season 91 with a Final Four appearance.
Talk about turning their season around.
San Beda erased the bitter memory of last year’s winless outing as the Red Spikers booted out the Arellano University Chiefs, 25-22, 25-20, 22-25, 25-22, to advance in the 91st NCAA Final Four Tuesday in their playoff for the no. 4 spot at The Arena in San Juan.
Five San Beda players finished with double figures led by Mark Enciso’s 19 points – all coming off kills. Gerald Zabala chipped in 13 markers, Alfie Macarinas and Yeshua Manliclic both scored 12 while Earl Gonzales posted 10 points for the Red Spikers, who will challenge the might of the defending champion and semis twice-to-beat advantage armed Emilio Aguinaldo College Generals.
“Ito ang turnover ng team from last year so kailangang mag-rebuild lang. ‘Yung last year na team kasi nagkataon lang. Ito dapat 'yung team na naglalaro na sa tingin namin na makakatulong sa school. Kasi 'yung standing namin last year was way below,” said sophomore coach Jose Roque.
The head coach explained that his current first six – all recruits from Marikina - were ineligible to play last year so they just settled to field in players from tryouts in their school.
Start of the semifinals is on Friday.
Kenneth Aliyacyac top scored for the Chiefs, who finished the elims tied with the Red Spikers with 5-4 cards, with 14 points. Kevin Libetrato and John Cabillan scored 10 each for Arellano.
Meanwhile, the Generals took the top seed earlier after reasserting its mastery over the Perpetual Help Altas, 21-25, 25-20, 25-17, 25-19, behind the 30-point outing of reigning Most Valuable Player Howard Mojica.
EAC bounced back from a sluggish start to clinch the no. 1 spot and handed the Altas their second straight head-to-head loss after the Generals denied Perpetual a sweep of the elimination round and a chance to advance in the championship round outright with a thrice-to-beat advantage.
Perpetual Help skipper Bonjomar Castel went down with a left foot sprain in the second set and the Generals took advantage.
Mojica, who is on his way of winning his second MVP recognition after leading the stats race in the elims, hammered 24 attacks and accounted for five of the Generals 12 service aces.
Hariel Doguna added 11 markers while Kerth Melliza and Israel Encina scored 10 each.
John Patrick Ramos and Manuel Doliente led the Altas with 10 points each.
Perpetual is armed with a twice-to-beat advantage against College of St. Benilde which they defeated in elims.
In the juniors division, the San Sebastian College Staglets boarded the last bus to the Final Four after booting out the Lyceum of the Philippines University Junior Pirates in a tight contest, 25-16, 28-26, 20-25, 21-25, 15-11, to set up a showdown with the defending champion Junior Altas, who are armed with a twice-to-beat advantage.
Perpetual took the no. 1 spot in a playoff against the Brigadiers, 25-18, 27-25, 17-25, 25-13, and successfully avenged their only loss in the elims to EAC, which thwarted their bid for an automatic Finals spot and a thrice-to-beat incentive.
The Brigadiers also enjoy a twice-to-beat bonus in the semis against AU Braves.
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