EMILIO Aguinaldo College skipper Howard Mojica blamed nobody but himself after his team's late collapse doomed their quest for back-to-back titles in the NCAA men’s volleyball tournament.
EAC was leading 11-5 in the fifth and final set but University of Perpetual Help came charging back to pull off a come-from-behind, 25-22, 23-25, 29-27, 22-25, 17-15, victory on Tuesday at The Arena in San Juan.
The lanky EAC top hitter, who also copped his second consecutive MVP honors, was lost for words when asked to explain their disappointing finish by a handful of reporters outside their dugout.
“Wala akong sinabi na kahit ano (sa loob ng dugout). Malaki ang pagkukulang ko,” Mojica said.
“Disappointed ako sa laro ko kasi, hindi ko masabi, I expect too much lang sa akin na (tapos) hindi ganoon kaganda ang laro ko,” he added.
Mojica was in obvious pain throughout the interview, not only because of the loss but because he was nursing a right shoulder strain, something that made him more hesistant even as he scored a series-best 28 points.
“Nakakaramdam ako ng doubt kasi alam ko bantay na bantay ako kaya sinasabihan ko si Nicco, ‘yung setter namin, na hangga’t maaari, hangga’t may pasa, bigyan mo (ng bola) si Israel,” he said.
“Wala na ako masyado naramdaman, pero once nasa ere ako, umangat ako, lalo pag mababa ang bola medyo nakakaramdam ako (ng sakit sa balikat),” he added.
But the graduating open spiker didn't make it an excuse. Instead he also gave credit to the defensive strategy and resolve of their tormentors, who have beaten the UN Ave.-based spikers in three Finals head-to-head showdowns.
“Hindi ko masabi, nada-down ako sobra kasi kita naman sa score (11-5),” he said. “Expected namin na amin na (ang championship) pero nagkaroon ng mga mental lapses at pagkukulang kaya nagkaganoon. Mas ginusto lang nila manalo kesa sa amin.”
“Sinecure namin bawat (puntos) nadedepensahan lang talaga nila,” he continued.