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EAC shakes-off losing streak, UP in dominant fashion



After floundering in the toughest part of their schedule, the Emilio Aguinaldo College (EAC) Generals recovered, snapping its three-game losing skid at the expense of the University of the Philippines (UP) Fighting Maroons 25-17, 25-23, 25-16, in the Spikers’ Turf Collegiate Conference presented by PLDT Home Ultera at the FilOil Flying V Arena.

The Maroons played without starting open hitter, Wendel Miguel who was hospitalized earlier in the week due to a severe sickness. UP sorely missed his scoring punch and overall court presence as UP heavily relied on his fellow open hitter, Alfred Valbuena for points. Also, the boys from Katipunan struggled mightily in service reception – surrendering 10 EAC aces – and managing their errors – coughing up 30 infractions.

NCAA MVP, Howard Mojica dominated the early goings of the match, leading his team to an early seven-point advantage and never looking back. The Generals held another huge advantage, 16-7, in the second frame but UP responded and inched closer towards the end of the set. Valbuena lit up the EAC defense with devastating back row kills. While the defending NCAA champs also struggled to get a good pass, UP narrowed the deficit to two, 22-20. After a timeout, the Generals traded points with the Maroons to seal the set with a Howard Mojica rocket from the open area.

The third frame saw rejuvenated play from the Maroons as they took an 8-6 lead. However, the Generals answered back, varying their offense and taking the lead at 16-14. Valbuena sparked another run finishing a combination play then nabbing an ace to knot the set at 16. However, that was the last of UP’s fight as EAC grabbed all of the points left to close the match decisively.

Mojica, who came off a 35 and 41 point outings, earned player of the game honors with just 18 points, his lowest tally in the tournament. UP’s Valbuena matched Mojica’s effort with 18 himself.

“Kilala na kasi namin ‘yung isa’t isa. Halos every Saturday nakakapigscrimmage kami,” said EAC head coach, Rod Palmero who is also UP’s assistant coach for the tournament. “Malaking bagay din na wala si Wendel Miguel. Kasi makaka-score, block, at depensa din siya. Gusto niya nga sana maglaro kanina. Sabi ko na lang sa kanya next game na lang kasi mas importante yun,” Palmero added.

Coming into the match, the Generals had lost their past three games to the toughest teams in the tournament – NU, CSB, and Ateneo. The win places EAC at a 3-3 carry over slate. The Maroons, on the other hand, are yet to win a match in the semis and sit at 0-5.

The Generals will need to win their final match on September 2, Wednesday against the DLSU Green Spikers to have a shot at qualifying for the next round of the tournament. UP will face their storied rivals, FEU Tamaraws on August 26, Wednesday.

The Scores

EAC (3) – Mojica 18, Doguna 6, Melliza 6, Arias 4, Encina 4, Mendoza 3, Pagtalunan 3, Bihag 1, Item 0, Cilocilo 0, Mangaring (L)

UP (0) – Valbuena 18, Raymundo 7, Acuna 4, Millete 4, Madrigalejos 3, Consuelo 2, San Pascual 2, Luna (L), Nasol (L)


Miguel Luis Flores fell face first into sports writing in high sch9l and has never gotten up. He reluctantly stumbled into the volleyball beat when he started with Tiebreaker Times three years ago. Now, he has waded through everything volleyball - from its icky politics to the post-modern art that is Jia Morado's setting.