Howard Mojica leads way as EAC Generals down Arellano Chiefs to close in on NCAA volleyball finals berth
The Generals led by Howard Mojica are one win away from a return trip to the championship. Jerome Ascano

EMILIO Aguinaldo College overcame a slow start and turned back fiesty Arellano University, 24-26, 25-19, 25-21, 25-17, on Wednesday to close in on a second finals appearance in the 90th NCAA men's volleyball tournament at The Arena in San Juan City.

Howard Mojica exploded with a match-high 24 hits, 21 coming off kills to lift the Generals to their first win in the semifinals.

EAC advanced to the finals last year but got ambushed by Perpetual Help, which swept the best-of-three series for its fourth straight title.

This season, the Generals haven't lost in 10 outings, including a nine-game sweep of the elimination round.

College of St. Benilde also boosted its title chances after it surprised the five-peat-seeking Perpetual Help, 25-12, 29-27, 19-25, 25-20, to also move a step closer to the finals.

MVP contender Johnvic de Guzman had a 33-hit performance, powering the Blazers to the upset win.

St. Benilde coach Arnold Laniog, who mentored Systema to a runner-up finish in the first ever men's tournament of the Shakey's V-League late last year, said defense was the difference.

"The key was our net defense and making it hard for their attackers. And we both succeeded in doing it in this match," said Laniog.

EAC and St. Benilde face off on Thursday, with the winner clinching the first championship berth.

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