Altas, Generals out to set up a championship showdown

Mark Escarlote on Jan 14, 2016 07:40 PM
Altas, Generals out to set up a championship showdown
Howard Mojica and the defending champion Emilio Aguinaldo College Generals will try to secure a Finals spot against the San Beda Red Lions.

Reigning titlist Emilio Aguinaldo College and Perpetual Help try to arrange a title showdown as the two clash with San Beda and St. Benilde, respectively, Friday in the Final Four of the 91st NCAA men’s volleyball tournament at The Arena in San Juan City.

The Generals tackle the Red Lions, who clinched the fourth and last Final Four berth with a 25-22, 25-20, 22-25, 25-22 win over the Arellano U Chiefs last Tuesday, at 12:00 noon while the Altas face off with the Blazers at 2:00 p.m. needing just a victory to forge a best-of-three title showdown.

The Perpetual-CSB tussle will air live on ABS-CBN Sports+Action Channel 23 and ABS-CBN Sports+Action HD Channel 166 and via livestream at sports.abs-cbn.com/livestream/ncaa.

The Generals and Altas hold a twice-to-beat semis advantage.

EAC clinched the top seeding by besting Perpetual Help, 21-25, 25-20, 25-17, 25-19, and sending the latter to No. 2 and a tough duel with St. Benilde, last year's losing finalist which wound up with the No. 3 seed.

The Generals are expected to again rely heavily on reigning MVP Howard Mojica, who dropped 30 hits against Perpetual Help the last time out.

EAC holds the advantage in terms of experience and firepower with Kerth Melliza, Hariel Doguna and Israel Encina providing support for Mojica. Still Generals head coach Rodrigo Palmero don’t want his team take the Red Lions, who are winless last year, lightly. 

“Sa akin meron pa rin sigurong (takot sa overconfidence ng team). Hindi ako magsasabi na kayang-kaya (namin ang San Beda),” he said. “Bilog ang bola doon ako lagi. Ayokong magsigurado.”

EAC barely escaped SBC in their elims meeting, needing five sets to survive the Red Lions, 21-25, 25-21, 25-20, 23-25, 15-10, last December 1.

Like Palmero, Perpetual Help head coach Sammy Acaylar wants his team to keep their focus.

The Altas defeated the Blazers in four sets in the elims.  

“Sabi ko sa team na “natalo na natin ang Benilde (sa eliminations) so sana hindi na sila makabalik ulit. Huwag nating sayangin ang twice-to-beat,”” he said.

 

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