COLLEGE of St. Benilde downed fourth seed Emilio Aguinaldo College, 25-18, 25-23, 25-20, on Tuesday to reach the NCAA Season 94 volleyball finals at the Arena in San Juan City.
The second-seeded Blazers stopped the Generals in one hour and 29 minutes to set a best-of-three title series with outright finalist University of Perpetual Help.
It will be a Season 92 rematch between Perpetual Help and St. Benilde, which won its maiden men’s volleyball title that year led by former MVP Johnvic De Guzman.
Ruvince Abrot led the Blazers back to the finals with 12 points off 11 kills and a service ace. Skipper Francis Basilan and Joshua De Sequera delivered nine points each, while Roniey Adviento and Owen Bacani added seven markers apiece. Bacani also made 20 excellent receptions and 10 digs.
“Natiyaga ng mga players ko on the last part and pagdating doon sa end game sabi ko, ‘mas mananaig pa rin ang beterano kasi siyempre sanay sila sa ganoong sitwasyon,’” St. Benilde head coach Arnold Laniog said. “‘Yun lang siguro ang ikinalamang din namin bukod sa mas lamang kami doon sa ibang area siguro yung pagiging veteran ng team.”
The Generals threatened to even the match, taking a 22-20 lead in the second set, but a Basilan kill followed by Abrot’s back-to-back spikes put the Blazers ahead. CSB setter Kevin Magsino committed a double contact violation that allowed Perpetua to tie the score.
An error from Raph Pitogo put St. Benilde at set point, 24-23, before De Sequera nailed the set-winning hit.
Joshua Mina scored 13 and Joshua Ramilo added 10 as EAC bows out after earlier taking down third seed Arellano in the first phase of the stepladder.
In Juniors’ division, third seed Letran defeated Lyceum, 30-28, 25-21, 25-20, to forge a best-of-three showdown with outright finalist and defending champion Perpetual Help.
Christian Dela Cruz led the Squires with 21 points, 10 excellent receptions and nine digs. Mark Omega chipped in 13 hits, Cedric Lim had 11 points and Lenard Santiago added 10.
Letran took down fourth place EAC last week in the first phase of the stepladder before downing second seed Lyceum to reach the finals.