The UPHSD Altas snatched the crown from the reigning titlist, Emilio Aguinaldo Generals, after a thrilling five-setter 25-22, 23-25, 29-27, 22-25 and 17-15, to post their 11th volleyball title for the Las Piñas based school.Rey Taneo Jr. was hailed Finals MVP with 18 points from 12 kills and 5 blocks, while team captain Bonjomar Castel helped with 18 points, also from 12 kills and 6 blocks.
The Altas clinched the first set with a 25-22 score from a Rey Taneo-kill, with the Generals having zero blocks in the opening period against Perpetual’s four. The Altas were leading by as much as six points, 17-11, before EAC fired their 3-0 run to shorten the margin, Mojica and Encina called the shots for the Generals but fell short eventually.
The Altas were dominating in the second set, leading by 4 in the initial period, but Kerth Melliza scored back-to-back for the Emilio Aguinaldo army to tie at 10-all. EAC’s middle blocker Encina scored all three points to breakaway at 13-11.
“Na-stop namin si Mojica”
This season’s back-to-back MVP Howard Mojica was surprisingly pulled out halfway of the second set, and came back three points away from the set win. An error by Perpetual handed the Generals the second set victory.
The momentum was still on EAC’s side, thanks to back-to-back aces by Encina to possess a 6-point lead, 7-1, but a couple of mistakes cost them four straight points. The Generals were at set-point, 24-21, before Coach Sammy Acaylar rotated his players to match EAC’s power, forcing stalemate at 24-all. Exchange of attacks ensued with Relan Taneo closing the rally at 29-27.
The fourth set was a series of attack exchange, with EAC’s wing spiker Melliza posting the last three points, 25-22, forcing a fifth and deciding set.
Mojica claimed the decider round after three consecutive aces to extend their lead by five, 9-4. Pepretual’s Abcede’s long attack added salt to the injury, but was quick to regain himself with a block on Melliza. After which the Altas answered back with a 6-0 run to tie at 11-all.
Both teams were taking turns on the lead, but Perpetual’s teamwork handed them the victory at 17-15, making them the NCAA Season 91 Men’s Volleyball Champions.
The Generals firepower of 28 points from Encina, 19 each from Mojica and Melliza, and 13 from the rest of the members were not enough to post back-to-back titles for the Generals.
Graduating star player Howard Mojica brought home 4 awards, namely Best Scorer, Best Spiker, Best Server and Season’s MVP.
While none of the Altas got individual awards, Coach Sammy Acaylar stressed that their goal is the championship and not the awards. “Sabi ko sakanila, wag nila intindihin kung wala sila award, ang importante championship.”