Perpetual Help routed Arellano U, 25-18, 25-23, 25-14, on Friday to keep its title-retention bid alive in the juniors division of the 92nd NCAA volleyball tournament at the Filoil Flying V Center in San Juan City.
Paul Solamin led his team with 14 hits while Marvien Castillo and Ivan Encila scattered 13 and 12 points, respectively, today as the Junior Altas arranged an interesting duel with the Emilio Aguinaldo Brigadiers, their finals foes last year, in the second stepladder semis game Monday.
EAC though will enjoy a twice-to-beat advantage after finishing as the second seed after the elimination round, forcing Perpetual Help to defeat the former two in a row to forge a championship showdown with Lyceum of the Philippines U, which swept its way to the finals where it is ensured of a thrice-to-beat advantage.
Otherwise, it will be an LPU-EAC title showdown.
“I have faith in my players and team that we will survive the stepladder semis and make it to the finals,” said Perpetual Help coach Sandy Rieta, who is eyeing to steer his squad to a ninth title and close in on the league-best 15 owned by San Sebastian.
In men’s action, St. Benilde drew strength from team captain Johnvic de Guzman’s explosive effort as it brought down reigning titlist Perpetual Help, 25-21, 25-23, 25-14, in a playoff for the top seeding.
The power-spiking de Guzman unloaded a match-best 23 hits, 20 came on spikes, two on blocks and one on a service ace to arrange the Blazers a semis duel with No. 4 Arellano U on Monday.
The Altas wound up at No. 2 and an equally intriguing showdown with No. 3 San Beda.
Both St. Benilde and Perpetual Help are assured of a twice-to-beat edge.