May 24, 2024

UAAP: MVP Josh Ybañez scores career-high in season-saving UST win over NU

UAAP: MVP Josh Ybañez scores career-high in season-saving UST win over NU
Josh Ybañez celebrates during the UST Golden Spikers' thrilling five-set comeback win over the NU Bulldogs. | Photo (c) UAAP

University of Santo Tomas completed an unlikely reverse sweep to remain in the hunt for a Final Four spot, while Ateneo de Manila University avoided an upset in round 2 of the UAAP Season 86 men's volleyball tournament at the Smart Araneta Coliseum Sunday, March 24.

Despite going down 0-2, the Golden Spikers made a furious comeback to continue their mastery over defending champion National University, picking up a crucial 28-30, 22-25, 25-23, 25-22, 15-9, win to bounce back after their five-set loss to Ateneo last time out. The win allowed UST to tie for fourth in the standings with a 5-4 record.

Tied at 4-all in the fifth set, UST exhilarated with a 5-0 run courtesy of a balanced attack led by Gboy De Vega, Paul Colinares, and MVP Josh Ybañez.

With momentum on their side, the Golden Spikers continued to pounce on the Bulldogs as Ybañez sealed UST's fifth victory with an emphatic spike, ending NU's run of seven-straight victories.

Ybañez finished with a career-high 34 points built on 31 attacks, two blocks, and one service ace to go along with 25 excellent receptions.

Sherwin Umandal added 15 markers, while De Vega added 11 points and 14 excellent receptions for UST.

The Bulldogs relied on Jade Disquitado and Leo Aringo, who finished with 20 and 19 points, respectively as NU dropped to a 7-2 record for second in the standings.

Meanwhile, the Blue Eagles avoided disaster as they escaped with their own five-set victory over the University of the Philippines, 25-15, 18-25, 25-15, 20-25, 15-10.

Ateneo started on a 6-1 run in the fifth, powered by Kennedy Batas and Amil Pacinio, who scored two attacks apiece during the run.

This ultimately gave the Blue Eagles enough cushion, with Batas scoring his 30th point with the final attack to seal the victory.

Batas' 30 points was built on 27 attacks, two blocks, and one service ace.

Jian Salarzon contributed 20 points, which included four blocks, while Pacinio showcased his versatility by scoring 16 points and completing 27 out of 35 receptions.

In addition, Leinuel Crisostomo made a significant contribution with 19 receptions and 11 digs.

That's after main libero Lance De Castro, who leads the league in digging and receiving, had to leave the match during the first set after injuring his leg while attempting to receive a ball from UP.

After securing back-to-back victories, the Blue Eagles climbed above the .500 mark, sporting a 5-4 record.

The Blue Eagles also managed to evade a repeat of last year's scenario when the Fighting Maroons secured their only victory of Season 85 against them in the second round, 13-25, 22-25, 26-24, 39-37, 15-12.

That win by the Fighting Maroons is still their most recent one, as they extended their losing skid to 13 games, now standing at 0-9 for this season.