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Gritty Perpetual forces deciding Game Three, outlasts EAC

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After looking lost in the series opener, the University of Perpetual Help – System Dalta Altas put up an impressive showing, dissecting the Emilio Aguinaldo College Generals in four sets 20-25, 25-21, 25-20, 25-19 in Game Two of the NCAA Finals at the FilOil Flying V Centre, earlier today.

Both squads could not limit their errors to start the match but managed to iron out their respective offenses as the opening set wore on. Trading points, EAC broke away through the efforts of opposite hitter Hariel Doguna who dotted a 7-1 run with multiple attacks. Leadint 21-15, EAC needed the reigning MVP, Howard Mojica to seal the set as the Altas threatened to come back. Mojica obliged, scoring three of EAC’s last four points for the early 1-0 lead.

Unlike Game One, the Altas refused to back down even after a tough set loss. Adjusting his lineup, Perpetual head coach, Sammy Acaylar stuck to his plan of limiting Mojica’s efficiency. Even with Mojica struggling to field his hits, EAC still forced a slow crawl all the way to a 20-all deadlock. From there, EAC continued to set for Mojica but the league’s top scorer coughed up three costly errors that allowed Perpetual to snatch the set with a timely kill from Philippe Abcede and a block from Allan Sala-An.

Perpetual’s middle blockers changed the complexion of the match totally in the last two sets. Manuel Doliente fired in four hits that propelled the Altas to an 11-5 lead on the third set. EAC answered with a 4-0 run that cut the deficit down to two, 10-12, but their errors got the best of them. Perpetual strolled to five straight points, four of which came off EAC attack errors, and took their 17-10 lead all they way for a set win.

Perpetual again wrestled control away from Generals from the onset of the fourth set. Leading by just two, 15-13, Perpetual open hitter Rey Taneo Jr. scored Perpetual’s clutch points. The Cebuano scored five of the Altas’ ten points and staved off the a late Generals assault to clinch the win.

After losing their first three matchups to the Generals this season, Acaylar said after the match the he focused on adjusting his players mentality. “Nakita ko kailangan namin mas mag-enjoy. Kaya hindi ko muna sila pinapagalitan. As much as possible, nag-eencourage lang ako. Sabi nga nila, mas gusto daw nilang nakikita akong masaya.”

Taneo led the Altas with 16 points while Philippe Abcede hopped off the bench and pitched in 14 markers. Perpetual’s middle blockers, Bonjomar Castel, Doliente, and Patrick Ramos combined for 20 points and five of Perpetual’s 11 blocks.

Mojica threw down a match-high 22 points but needed 50 attack attempts and multiple errors to get there. Hariel Doguna and Israel Encina contributed 13 and 10 markers apiece.

The final match of the season, Game Three, will be on Tuesday 4 p.m. at the FilOil Flying V Centre.

The Scores:
UPHSD (3) – Taneo Rey 16, Abcede 14, Castel 8, Doliente 8, Ramos 4, Kasim 4, Sala An 4, Catipay 2, Tanel Relan 0, Kalingking (L).
EAC (1) – Mojica 22, Doguna 13, Encina 10, Melliza 8, Rasing 2, Bihag 1, Gorospe (L).

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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.

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