Generals submit Altas in four sets, march closer to a repeat title
Mark Escarlote on Jan 19, 2016 04:56 PM
Emilio Aguinaldo College took the 91st NCAA men's volleyball Finals series opener in four sets against Perpetual Help.
The defending champion Emilio Aguinaldo College Generals inched closer to clinching their second straight title as Howard Mojica pounded the Perpetual Help Altas to submission, 25-22, 14-25, 25-14, 25-16, Tuesday in Game 1 of the 91st NCAA men’s volleyball Finals best-of-three series at The Arena in San Juan.
EAC fell to a 12-point hole in the second set after a blazing start in their third championship meeting with the Altas in the past four seasons. The Generals banked on the explosive reigning Most Valuable Player and on their vaunted floor defense to regain their composure and turn back the Las Pinas-based squad.
“Nangyayari talaga sa mga bata na pinapasukan ng gigil and minsan talaga na nawawala sa sarili na alam nila sa sarili nila na kayang-kaya nila ang kalaban kaya kino-control ko rin,” said Generals head coach Rodrigo Palmero, whose wards scored their first win against Perpetual in a championship series.
Game 2 is on Friday.
Mojica top scored for the Generals with 22 points anchored on 17 kills – including the match-clinching down the line smash that went over the two-man defensive wall of the Altas – with four kill blocks and a service ace.
Hariel Doguna and Kerth Melliza chiped in 12 points each with the latter scoring all but one of his markers off attacks for EAC, which won its third straight win against Perpetual in the season after defeating the Altas in the eliminations and semifinals top seeding playoffs.
Melliza had a superb defensive effort with 13 perfect receptions while Karlo Gorospe had 14 digs for EAC.
The Generals fell behind, 9-21, in the second frame and never gave any significant resistance as they allowed Perpetual to tie the match at 1-1.
“Sobrang kompiyansa kaya hinayaan ko rin muna na ma-realize nila ang kanilang pagkakamali para pagdating ng susunod na set maka-recover kaagad,” added Palmero.
And bounce back they did.
The Generals broke open a 9-9 tie in the third set with an 11-3 blast to control the frame and regain the match lead. The fourth set was all EAC with Mojica putting the icing on the cake.
Rey Taneo Jr. was the only Altas in double-digit with 10 points as skipper Bonjomar Castel was shackled to only seven markers for Perpetual, which failed to capitalize on the Generals’ 41 errors.
Meanwhile, the defending champion Junior Altas inched a win closer to clinching their eighth title overall and second in a row as Perpetual waylaid the EAC Brigadiers, 25-13, 25-18, 25-16, in their best-of-three series opener.
It took the Junior Altas a mere 54 minutes to defeat the Brigadiers, whose main gunners were silenced by the impenetrable defensive wall of Perpetual.
Skipper Jody Severo led all scorers will 11 points coming from six attacks, four kill blocks and a service ace for Perpetual, which got nine points from Gabriel EJ Casana including three from the service line and eight markers from Ivan Encila.
Severo and Kirth Rosos accounted for six of Perpetual’s 10 kill blocks, shutting down the Brigadiers’ attackers where Ceejay Hicap and Ralph Pitogo scored only eight points each for EAC, the former three-peat champion that lost their crown last year after falling short in the semifinals.
Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles