The UST Tiger Spikers extended their winning streak to five games after snapping the Ateneo Blue Eagles’ unbeaten run, 25-20, 25-23, 22-25, 25-15, to hold the top seat in the V-League Collegiate Challenge, September 10, at Paco Arena in Manila.
Josh Ybanez eked out another outstanding performance for his third Player of the Game nod in the tournament as he notched 23 points off 18 excellent attacks, four blocks, and one service ace, lifting the Tiger Spikers to another win.
The Tiger Spikers now hold a 5-1 win-loss card while the Blue Eagles dropped to 4-1 as the semi-finals nears.
UST failed to fend off Ateneo in the third set as the Blue Eagles found momentum off emphatic attacks from its front lines to force an extension.
It was all Tiger Spikers from there, dominating the Blue Eagles with its crisp ball distribution and fast attacks to create a separation early in the fourth set and never look back.
"Out of all the teams, they were the ones we really focused on. I dedicated time to scouting them, but during the third set, we relaxed and our effort became half-hearted," said UST head coach Odjie Mamon on his team’s third-set efforts.
The Blue Eagles kept things close in the first two sets, but the Tiger Spikers stepped on the gas down the last stretches of each period to take an early 2-0 set lead.
Middle blocker Rainier Flor also paced the Tiger Spikers with 13 points off 11 excellent attacks, while Gboy De Vega added 12 points.
Meanwhile, the 6-foot-four rookie and former basketball player, Trevor Valera, was also a revelation down the stretch, scoring four points to contribute to the blocking and attacking departments of UST late in the last two sets.
The Tiger Spikers will face the San Beda University Red Lions next Friday, September 15.—with reports from R. Maglinao