The UST Tiger Spikers continued their winning ways as they exacted dominance over the San Beda Red Spikers in straight sets, 25-19, 25-17, 25-23, wrapping up their elimination round campaign in the V-League Collegiate Challenge in Paco Arena on Friday, September 15.
Josh Ybañez laid out another masterclass, producing an 18 point outing to lead the Tiger Spikers en route to his fourth Best Player of the Game recognition for this tournament.
The game heightened in the third set as both squads traded leads with no team gaining the momentum before the Tiger Spikers closed it out with more two straight points off Gboy De Vega’s spike and rookie Trevor Valera’s lone point coming via block to end the game in three straight sets, 25-23.
Despite the victory, head coach Odjie Mamon expressed his dismay on how his team performed.
“The players were not really focused; they were just playing, and I allowed them to. It defeats the purpose of adding players to the core,” he said.
The Tiger Spikers had a slow start in the opening salvo as they trailed 4-8 to start the match before coach Mamon called timeout to sort things out, which followed a quick 5-0 run for UST to gain control.
The UST Tiger Spikers finished with a 6-1 record to end the eliminations and march on to the semi-finals of the V-League Collegiate Challenge as the top team in the standings.
However, during the 18-17 mark of the first set, team captain Dux Yambao sprained his left leg — the same injury he suffered in the UAAP Season 85 final four a few months ago — on a block attempt in the latter part of the first set, keeping him out of the match.
The Tiger Spikers then kept their composure and claimed the first set, 25-19, capitalizing on their 15 attacks to overwhelm the Red Lions in the opening set.
Without their team captain Yambao, the Tiger Spikers continued their inspired run, leaning on their prowess to produce 13 kills and four blocks in the second set and move on cusp of the win, 25-17.
San Beda remained within striking distance throughout the third frame, but UST’s intent of attacking their net defense paid dividends in the end to snag the victory.
UST finished with 43 total attacks, 16 more than San Beda’s output throughout the game.
The Tiger Spikers will face the number four seed after all the elimination games finish this week.
As of writing, the V-League Collegiate Challenge semi-finals schedule has yet to be announced.