MANILA -- University of Santo Tomas swept San Beda, 25-19, 25-17, 25-23, to secure the top seed in the V-League Men’s Collegiate Challenge, Friday at the Paco Arena in Manila.
The Golden Spikers have now won six consecutive matches in the preseason tournament.
With the Red Spikers threatening to extend the match, GBoy de Vega came through with a clutch kill before Trevor Valera's rejection at the net completed the sweep for the España spikers.
Reigning UAAP MVP Josh Ybañez put up an 18-point performance that featured 17 attacks and finished with an ace. De Vega and Rainier Flor added eight markers each, while Gwen Colinares stepped up for Dux Yambao, who suffered an ankle sprain in the first set.
No Red Spiker finished in double digits with middle blocker Andrei Bakil ending up with nine points even as Kevin Montemayor was limited to three markers.
De La Salle University later clinched a semifinal berth with a sweep of University of Perpetual Help System DALTA, 25-20, 25-19, 25-19, in the other men’s encounter.
The Green Spikers moved to third place with a 4-2 (win-loss) record, towing Far Eastern University to the next round.
With Perpetual keeping the match close in the third, De La Salle unleashed a closing run capped by a Yoyong Mendoza cross-court kill.
"I told them to just play their best. Ayoko namang i-pressure sila nang 'do-or-die' or 'need this;' hindi na ganun ang atake ko. Kumbaga, laruin niyo lang kasi napag-aralan na natin 'yung gagawin natin," said acting DLSU coach Jose Roque.
Mendoza finished with 17 markers to lead De La Salle's march to the postseason, all coming from attacks. Skipper JM Ronquillo and Noel Kampton added 13 and 12 points, respectively.
In the women's division, College of St. Benilde also secured a spot in the semifinals after taking down NCAA rival University of Perpetual Help System DALTA in straight sets, 25-18, 26-24, 25-16.
With a 5-1 win-loss record and still a game-at-hand against Enderun Colleges, the Lady Blazers is set to face University of the East in the Final Four. The Lady Altas, on the other hand, will face Far Eastern University.
CSB had to climb back from a huge 10-17 hole in the second set with Jade Gentapa taking over in order to get the win, and this is something head coach Jerry Yee addressed.
"Me, as a coach, I am looking at what I can improve on and I'm not happy with that. It's good na nakita ko and good na pwede nating i-correct. And good thing na naka-recover. It was a big character win for us," the seasoned mentor said.
Gentapa ended with 13 points on 10 attacks, one block, and two service aces, while Zam Nolasco also added 13 markers, five of them from blocks.
In the nightcap, Lyceum of the Philippines University completed a huge comeback against San Sebastian College-Recoletos, ending with a rousing fifth set, 17-25, 22-25, 25-22, 21, 23-21.
The Lady Pirates, who ended the tournament at 2-5, leaned on the smart hitting from Johna Dolorito to get ahead of the Lady Stags. Dolorito finished with 18 markers, but it was also the heads-up play from Joan Doguna that kept the Lady Pirates above water. Doguna also produced 18 points on 16 attacks and two blocks to go with seven digs.
Lyceum spoiled Kat Santos' best match so far in the season -- a 24-point explosion on 20 attacks as they kept the Lady Stags winless at 0-6.