Ever since the Emilio Aguinaldo College Generals started building a strong volleyball program, the dynastic University of Perpetual Help System DALTA Altas have thwarted their progress.
But this season, the Generals were on a.mission to cap their own dynasty and the Altas were on a the road to recovering lost glory.
After never winning a match against the Altas in a Finals series, the Generals finally broke through, scoring a four-set decision 25-22, 14-25, 25-14, 25-16 in Game One of the NCAA Finals at the FilOil Flying V Centre, earlier today.
The Generals kept their season-long with limiting errors in big matches going. After building a solid five-point advantage early in the opening set, EAC let out a torrent of errors that allowed Perpetual to get as close as one point, 14-15. However, the Generals managed to pull away through smart attacking and exploitative serving.
The second frame was brutal for the Generals. Losing focus, EAC dropped 14 errors in the set alone and allowed Perpetual to easily take the set.
But EAC regained form in the next two sets even if they still had trouble limiting their miscues. Through tight defense and tactical serving, the Generals limited UPHSD to eight attack points combined to close out the match. EAC’s Howard Mojica, Kerth Melliza, and Hariel Doguna drove the Generals offense and sent the predominantly EAC crowd to a frenzy with every consecutive hit.
“Lumabas ‘yung pagiging kampante namin kanina. Pero masaya pa rin kami sa panalo. Maganda ‘yung execution namin,” said EAC Head Coach Rod Palmero
In Season 89 and 90, Palmero led the Generals to the Finals only to be swept by the Altas. Palmero admits he is relieved that they finally got one over his opponents.
“Noong nagsisimula pa lang kami, hindi kami manalo sa mga yan. Malaking respeto ko sa kanila dahil doon. Ma-pride sila, hindi pwedeng basta-bastahin.”
Mojica led all scorers with 22 points while Melliza and Doguna added 12 markers apiece. For the fourth time this season, the Generals coughed up more than 40 erros, surrendering 41 but more than made up for it with a 46-24 attacking advantage.
Rey Taneo was the only Altas who managed double-digits with 10 markers as Perpetual Head Coach, Sammy Acaylar shuffled through hia bench to look for an offensive spark.
EAC can take their second consecutive title with a win in Game Two on Friday, January 22 at 2:00 p.m.
EAC (3) – Mojica 22, Doguna 12, Melliza 12, Encina 8, Rasing 5, Barbuco 0, Cilocilo 0, Mendoza 0, Gorospe (L)
UPHSD (1) – Taneo Rey 10, Castel 7, Ramos 7, Abcede 4, Taneo Relan 3, Doliente 2, Catipay 1, Kasim 1, Ytorzaita 1, Salaan 0, Kalingking (L)