Relying on their routinely powerful offense, the Emilio Aguinaldo College Generals kept the Mapua Institute of Technology Cardinals winless with a straight sets thrashing, 25-22, 26-24, 25-17 in the Spikers’ Turf Collegiate Conference presented by PLDT Home Ultera, at the FilOil Flying V Arena.
To Mapua’s credit, the match was relatively close in the first two sets thanks to their solid floor defense and the offensive brilliance of Philip Bagalay. However, when the sets got down to the trenches, Mapua had no counter for EAC’s heavy haymakers.
In the second set, Mapua grabbed a momentary lead, 14-13, courtesy of back-to-back Bagalay back row attacks. The defending NCAA champs, EAC, retaliated with five straight points, spearheaded by the auspicious serving of Mark Arias. Down, 22-17, Mapua Setter, Raven Evangelista caught fire from the service line and led a 5-0 run to tie the set at 22 prompting an EAC timeout. The Generals almost took the set thereafter, when Howard Mojica seemed to have scored three points off powerful open hits. However, Mojica’s last point was overruled after the first referee tagged Mojica for a net touch, well after he awarded EAC the would-be set point. EAC rallied and scored another point to force a deuce, 24-24, but the Cardinals blew their chance after surrendering consecutive attack errors.
The Cardinals fell apart at the first point of the third frame. The Generals jumped out to a 5-0 lead highlighted by three consecutive aces from guest player, April John Pagtalunan. From there, Howard Mojica and Israel Encina finished the match off, teaming up for 12 points in the final set.
NCAA MVP, Mojica topped the scoring sheet with 19 points, his fellow Open Hitter, Kerth Melliza, followed with 11 markers, and Team Captain Encina pitched in 10 points. Carrying the offensive load for the Cardinals, Bagalay was the only Cardinal to finish in double-digits with 16 points.
After their third win in as many games, EAC Head Coach, Rodrigo Palmero spoke on his upcoming matchup with the talented NCBA Wildcats on August 3, Monday. “Mas malaki talaga ‘yung NCBA sa amin, dadaanin na lang siguro namin sa bilis saka sa mga combination plays namin. Hopefully gumana din ‘yung floor defense namin.”
The Cardinals will look to earn their first win of the tournament against the UAAP’s UE Red Warriors also on August 3, Monday.
EAC (3) – Mojica 19, Melliza 11, Encina 10, Doguna 5, Arias 5, Pagtalunan 3, Bohag 0, Cilocilo 0, Gerella 0, Mangaring (L)
MIT (0) – Bagalay 16, Flores 8, Pertierra 7, Bermejo 6, Ocampo 6, Damian 1, Navera 1, Andaya 0, Diaz 0, Canlas (L)
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