Spikers’ Turf: Generals clinch 3rd semis berth
Howard Mojica’s scoring outburst came with a crucial victory this time.
Mojico erupted for 35 points as Emilio Aguinaldo College outlasted La Salle, 25-23, 23-25, 25-20, 26-24, to secure the No. 3 semifinal spot in the Spikers’ Turf Collegiate Conference yesterday at Filoil Flying V Arena in San Juan.
Flashing his do-it-all form yet again, Mojica fired the decisive hits in the final two sets to power the Generals after the Green Archers tied the match at one set apiece.
Mojica, the NCAA Most Valuable Player, had set a league record of 41 points in a recent quarterfinal match but his explosive performance went for naught as the Generals bowed to Ateneo.
The Generals, who wrapped up their quarterfinal stint with a 4-3 record, joined unbeaten leader Ateneo (7-0) and National University (6-1) in the Final Four.
Despite the loss, the Archers stayed in semifinal contention after National College of Business and Arts (NCBA) blew its chance to clinch the last Final Four berth in the second match.
The also-ran University of the Philippines spoiled the Wildcats’ bid in a gruelling five-set decision, 25-21, 22-25, 25-19, 23-25, 15-11, for a 2-5 slate.
Alfred Gerard Valbuena pumped in 26 points to lead the Maroons, who rallied from a 5-8 deficit in the deciding set.
La Salle and NCBA wound up tied at fourth place with 3-4 cards and will dispute the last Final Four slot at 5 p.m. on Saturday also in San Juan.
Mojica finished with 28 kills, half of the Generals’ 56 attacks, on top of five aces and a couple of blocks.
Israel Encina added 11 points, the last two on a running hit and block that put the Generals at match point, 25-24, before a La Salle error sealed their victory.