UST Golden Spikers drop second straight to unbeaten FEU

Photo by Jessica Luna/THE FLAME

THE UST Golden Spikers endure their second-straight defeat after bowing to the undefeated FEU Tamaraws in a five-setter showdown, 26-28, 25-21, 25-21, 21-25, 12-15, in the UAAP Season 86 men’s volleyball tournament on Sunday, March 3.

FEU’s victory marks its best start to the season since 2018, solidifying its position at the league’s top with a 4-0 record. Meanwhile, UST, the previous season’s runner-up, falls to a 2-2 win-loss slate.

The opening set of the battle of neighbors was a tight affair at the Mall of Asia Arena. Reigning rookie-MVP Josh Ybañez kept UST in the game with a crucial kill that tied the score at 25-all. However, FEU outside hitter Andrei Delicana secured the first set for the Tamaraws with an off-the-block hit, 28-26.

The Golden Spikers bounced back in the second salvo, with middle blocker Rainier Flor leading the charge. A well-placed deflection by Flor propelled UST to an eight-point lead, 20-12. 

While the Tamaraws attempted to chip away at the deficit, unforced errors ultimately cost them the set, as the Golden Spikers closed it out 25-21.

The third followed a similar pattern, with UST maintaining control. A down-the-line kill from opposite hitter Jay Rack de la Noche secured the set for the Golden Spikers, 25-21.

Facing a 2-1 set deficit, FEU refused to back down. The Tamaraws forced a fifth and deciding set through a down-the-line hit by middle blocker Martin Bugaoan, 25-21.

The final set was a nail-biter, with both teams showcasing impressive offensive displays. FEU managed to pull away in the closing stages, capitalizing on UST’s miscues, resulting to a 4-1 blitz. 

Delicana sealed the victory for the Tamaraws with a powerful hit, 15-12.

Ybañez had a monster game after leading all scorers with a game-high 30 points, including 25 attacks, three blocks, and two aces. 

De la Noche chipped in 17 points for UST, while GBoy De Vega, who recovered from an ankle sprain sustained during their previous match against DLSU Green Spikers, contributed 13 markers.

Outside hitters Delicana and Javelona led FEU with 18 points apiece, while Bugaoan and opposite spiker Dryx Saavedra added 16 and 13 markers, respectively.

The UST Golden Spikers aim to stop the bleed from defeat as they take on the Ateneo Blue Eagles on March 9 at the same arena. F

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