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Spikers’ Turf: La Salle settles for playoff with NCBA after falling to EAC in four sets

Nothing can be more devastating than losing a game that went down to the wire. Such was the case for the DLSU Green Spikers yesterday at the San Juan Arena as they succumbed to NCAA champions Emilio Aguinaldo College Generals in four sets, 25-23, 23-25, 25-20, 26-24.

The fourth set was especially heartbreaking for the Green-and-White as La Salle seemed on the verge of forcing a fifth and final set. Although trailing early in the set, 16-13, the Taft-based squad managed to tie the score at 21 and even held on to a one-point lead, 24-23, late in the set.

File Photo: DLSU vs NCBA, Spiker's Turf Quarterfinals last August 19.
File Photo: DLSU vs NCBA, Spiker’s Turf Quarterfinals last August 19.

Unfortunately, it was the last point the Green Spikers were able to make in that game as the Generals scored the final two points of the set and match, giving them a semifinal berth along with the undefeated ADMU Blue Eagles and NU Bulldogs.

Howard Mojica was stellar in EAC’s quarterfinal finale as he finished with a game-high 35 points off 28 spikes, two blocks, and five service aces.

Meanwhile, it was the tandem of Arjay Onia and Cris Dumago who led La Salle in scoring with 16 and 13 points respectively.

In the first set, the Green Spikers raced to an early 3-0 lead that EAC eventually trimmed to one, 9-8, moments after the first technical timeout. The Generals slowly gained more momentum and eventually took a 23-18 lead later in the set. DLSU tried to rally and managed to cut the lead to just a single point, 24-23, however EAC responded to La Salle’s run and finished the set ahead by two, 25-23.

The next set saw DLSU build an early lead that eventually became five, 16-11, heading into the second technical timeout. The Generals threatened to steal another set by closing the gap and coming within one, 24-23. However, La Salle was not keen on repeating their first set mishaps and scored on the next possession to take the set, 25-23.

EAC turned the tables in the third set by grabbing a 12-10 in the early moments of the set. From there, they were able to distance themselves by a sizable margin throughout the set. In the end, they managed to keep DLSU at bay and ended up winning the set, 25-20.

La Salle raced to another 3-0 lead hoping to force a fifth and deciding set but the Generals countered with another run of their own, taking an 8-6 lead heading into the first technical timeout. DLSU went on one last run, even managing to snatch the lead after breaking a 21-all deadlock. In the end, EAC was the more composed team as they scored the set’s last two points to win the set, 26-24, and the match.

EAC’s Mojica spelled the major difference between the two teams as his 28 spikes were more than those of the top two scorers from DLSU. Dumago and Onia were the only Green Spikers to finish in double figures.

Even with the loss, the Green Spikers will still have one more shot at the semifinals, as the NCBA Wildcats failed to secure the last semifinal slot after falling to UP in yesterday’s 3pm match. La Salle hopes to win this rematch versus the Wildcats when they play this Saturday, September 5, at 5pm in the San Juan Arena.

Jason Runes

By Jason Runes

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