May 29, 2024

UAAP: UST secures last Final Four slot thanks to win and La Salle's four-set victory over Ateneo

UAAP: UST secures last Final Four slot thanks to win and La Salle
UST's Gboy De Vega and DLSU's Noel Kampton celebrate during their crucial wins in UAAP Season 86. | Photo (c) UAAP

The University of Santo Tomas officially secured the last Final Four slot in the UAAP Season 86 men's volleyball tournament thanks to De La Salle University's four-set win over Ateneo de Manila University, 25-21, 23-25, 26-24, 25-19, at the Smart Araneta Coliseum on Sunday, April 21.

After their loss against the Green Spikers, the Blue Eagles now sit with a 6-7 record with just a game left in the elimination round. This means that Ateneo will no longer be able to catch up to UST, locking up the top-4 for this year's title chase.

A close match ensued between the La Salle and Ateneo, similar to their first-round encounter.

But this time around, the Green Spikers, riding on their four-game winning streak, had more composure in the endgame to keep their hopes for a twice-to-beat advantage still alive.

After a thrilling extended set win in the third, DLSU managed to pull away from Ateneo in the fourth as JM Ronquillo's service ace sealed the team's 10th victory, tying idle National University for second in the standings.

Vince Maglinao led the Green Spikers with 19 points on 17 attacks and two blocks, to go along with nine excellent digs and seven excellent receptions. Ronquillo and Noel Kampton added 15 markers apiece in the win.

In the first game, UST bounced back from its tough four-set loss against the league-leading Far Eastern University after sweeping the University of the East, 25-15, 25-21, 25-16.

The Golden Spikers utilized their seven-day break effectively to secure a comeback victory over the Red Warriors which improved their record to 8-5, setting them up to advance with DLSU's win. But even if the Green Spikers would have lost, UST had control of its Final Four destiny, needing only one more win to formally advance.

Instead, the Golden Spikers take their playoff spot with a game to spare.

Josh Ybañez led the charge with 18 points, converting 17 of his 29 attack attempts and making 11 excellent receptions. Paul Colinares contributed 12 points, while Sherwin Umandal added 11 points.

On the other hand, the struggling UE suffered their sixth consecutive loss, dropping to a 1-12 record, tied with the University of the Philippines at the bottom of the standings.

No player from the Red Warriors scored in double digits, with John Aligayon and Angelo Reyes leading with eight points each. Joshua Pozas and Axel Defeo contributed seven points apiece.