V-League: UST books Finals berth; La Salle forces decider


Posted at Sep 22 2023 11:12 PM

Photo from V-League Media Bureau
Photo from V-League Media Bureau

MANILA – The University of Santo Tomas (UST) Golden Spikers advanced to the finals of the V-League Men’s Collegiate Challenge for the second straight time after blanking the Far Eastern University (FEU) in their semifinal series. 

UST booked the first Finals berth at stake after trouncing the Tamaraws in four sets, 25-19, 25-22, 23-25, 25-23, in Game 2 of their Final Four series at the Paco Arena in Manila Friday. 

Prolific spiker Josh Ybañez was once again at the forefront of the Golden Spikers’ offense with 28 big points on 25 attacks, two blocks and an ace aside from tallying an impressive 27 excellent receptions in the game.

Ybañez received solid support from another open hitter of the team Gboy de Vega, who had 18 points.

“Thank you kay Lord na nakarating kami rito kahit nung third set nag-relax 'yung mga bata. Pero at least nung fourth set naibalik 'yung composure nila," said UST assistant coach Benjamin Mape, whose wards also defeated the FEU side, 21-25, 25-21, 25-22, 25-22, in Game 1. 

UST will face the winner between Ateneo and La Salle for the Finals series starting Wednesday. 

Meanwhile, De La Salle University Green Spikers extended the other semifinals match up after avenging their five-setter loss to Ateneo Blue Eagles in the series opener last Wednesday.

La Salle banked on Noel Kampton’s 26-point production to annihilate the surging Ateneo, 25-21, 25-21, 25-21, and kept their championship hopes alive in the men’s division. 

The win slated a do-or-die Game 3 on Sunday in the same venue.

"Gaya lang ng nabanggit ko sa team kanina bago kami nag-start ng game, sinabi ko na, let's try to extend it, baka sakaling meron pa," said La Salle coach Jose Roque. "Sobrang importante nito for the team na makabangon.”

Amil Pacinio took charge for the Blue Eagles, who, however, struggled with their service reception, leading to five De La Salle aces.