REIGNING men's titlist Emilio Aguinaldo College and Perpetual Help pulled off five-set victories on Friday to reach the finals of the 91st NCAA volleyball tournament at The Arena in San Juan City.
The Generals edged the San Beda Red Spikers, 25-19, 25-20, 22-25, 22-25, 15-9, while the Altas survived a brave stand by the St. Benilde Blazers, 33-31, 25-20, 22-25, 23-25, 15-9, to set up a best-of-three finale unfurling on Tuesday at the same venue.
"It's a good feeling to make it back to the finals," said an ecstatic Perpetual Help coach Sammy Acaylar.
Rey Taneo, Jr. came through with a performance to remember and unleashed 21 hits, most of which came in the critical final set when the Las Pinas-based spikers put the Blazers, last year's losing finalists, away for good.
It will be the third time in the last four years Perpetual Help and EAC will face off in the finals.
Interestingly, the Altas beat the Generals in their first two meetings in 2013 and 2014.
Howard Mojica, the reigning MVP who is tipped to complete a hat-trick of awards this year, unloaded 31 hits to power EAC to for another crack at the title it won a season ago by beating St. Benilde.
And the Generals did it despite a 50 errors.
The Red Spikers, who turned back the Arellano U Chiefs, 25-22, 25-20, 22-25, 25-22, in their sudden death match on Tuesday, leaned on Gerald Zabala, captain Alfie Mascarinas and Earl Kenneth Gonzales, who combined for 34 hits but had no answer to Mojica.
"He carried us through again," said EAC coach Rodrigo Palmero in Filipino of Mojica.