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EAC survives error fest to make fourth straight Finals appearance



Throughout the season, the Emilio Aguinaldo College Generals would build big leads early only to let their foes creep back in and prolong the match.

Facing a hungry San Beda College Red Spikers side in the Final Four, the defending champs treaded perilously on the wrong side of an upset but prevailed in the end in five sets 25-19, 25-20, 22-25, 22-25, 15-9, booking their fourth consecutive NCAA Men’s Volleyball Finals appearance at the FilOil Flying V Centre, earlier today.

After taking the first two sets handily, the Generals lost their intensity and proceeded to let the Red Spikers back in the match. EAC tallied a season-worst 50 errors, more than half of which came in the two sets they lost.

The squad from San Marcelino, however, flexed their championship experience in the deciding frame, jumping out to a 5-2 advantage and never looking back. San Beda trimmed the deficit down to one, 7-8, but began conceding errors that inflated EAC’s lead to six, sealing the match.

“Lumabas talaga ‘yung experience namin noong fifth set. Sabi ko nga sa mga players ko, ‘wag na natin ibigay ‘to. Thankfully nakapag-execute kami noong dulo,” said EAC Head Coach Rod Palmero, who added he was relieved his team did not have to exhaust its twice-to-beat advantage.

Reigning MVP, Howard Mojica towed his Generals with 31 big points off 27 attacks, three blocks, and an ace despite incurring a minor knee injury early in the match. High-leaping Middle Blocker, Israel Encina and Mojica’s fellow Open Hitter Kerth Melliza provided offensive support with 13 and 10 points respectively.

Composed mainly of first year players, San Beda’s season could already be considered a success after going 5-4 in the elimination round and making the Final Four given their 0-9 record last season. San Beda also took the Generals to five sets in their season opener.

Open Hitter Gerald Zabala led the Red Spikers with 12 points while team captain Alfie Mascariñas and Middle Blocker Earl Gonzales each contributed 11 markers.

EAC will face the winner of the Perpetual Help Altas-Benildr Blazers series in Game One of the best-of-three Finals next week.

The Scores

EAC (3) – Mojica 31, Encina 13, Melliza 10, Rasing 9, Doguna 5, Barbuco 1, Bihag 1, Garcia 1, Gorospe (L).

SBC (2) – Zabala 12, Mascariñas 11, Gonzales E. 11, Enciso 7, Manliclic 4, Desuyo 1, Gonzales B. 1, Viray 1, Casin (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.