UST Golden Spikers sweep winless UP

Photo by Grehmalyne Carandang/THE FLAME

FEWER ERRORS fueled the UST Golden Spikers’ sweep against the winless UP Fighting Maroons, 25-23, 25-14, 25-16, in the UAAP Season 86 men’s volleyball tournament at the Mall of Asia Arena on Wednesday.

The victory snapped UST’s losing streak and improved its record to 3-3, while UP suffered its sixth loss.

A tight first set saw UST standout Josh Ybañez and UP’s Louis Gamban trade blows.

Ybañez delivered a crucial attack to put UST ahead 13-12, setting the tone for the match. 

UST’s middle blocker Rainier Flor then secured the opening set with a powerful spike through UP’s blockers, off a set from captain-setter Dux Yambao, 25-23.

Ybañez continued his dominance in the second set, igniting a 5-0 run with a crosscourt kill. 

Despite suffering a pain in the ankle due to a bad fall, the reigning Rookie-MVP returned to the game at 23-13.

A crosscourt kill by Sherwin Umandal off Yambao’s set sealed the second set for the Golden Spikers, 25-14.

The momentum remained with the España-based squad in the third set. Capitalizing on UP’s errors and violations, the Golden Spikers continued to score points.

Trevor Valera started strong with a point, and later denied UP’s last-ditch effort with a decisive middle attack, securing the win for UST, 25-16.

The Golden Spikers’ focus on minimizing errors proved crucial.

After committing 22 errors in their previous match against Ateneo, the Golden Spikers managed to cut that down to just 15 against the Fighting Maroons.

“That’s something that we have really paid attention to— the errors we committed. Our coaches calmed us down,” Ybañez told The Flame.

“[They’ve] reset everything and gave us the wisdom to believe and not doubt ourselves. The more you doubt yourself, the more errors you commit,” he added.

Ybañez led UST with 21 points. Flor and GBoy De Vega contributed 11 and 8 points, respectively.

Gamban led UP with 13 points, while middle blocker Angelo Lipata chipped in 8 markers.

The Golden Spikers will try to extend their winning streak as they square off against the Adamson Soaring Falcons on Saturday, March 16, at the SMART Araneta Coliseum. F

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