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Ybanez drops career-high 34 points, rallies Golden Spikers past Bulldogs

MANILA, Philippines -- Josh Ybanez erupted for the UST Golden Spikers as he led a comeback over defending champions National University Bulldogs, 28-30, 22-25, 25-23, 25-22, 15-9, in the UAAP Season 86 men's volleyball tournament Sunday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

The reigning Most Valuable Player led the reverse sweep and waxed hot for a career-high 34 points for the Golden Spikers to sweep NU in their season series.

After dropping the first two sets, the Golden Spikers found their rhythm and grinded out a 25-23 win to extend the match.

The fourth set was too close to call as the two teams were kept in a 22-all deadlock late.

After a Jade Disquitado attack error, Gboy de Vega took over late and punched in back-to-back points to force the fifth set.

With the newfound momentum, UST turned a 3-all tie to a 9-4 lead as Sherwin Umandal, Paul Colinares, de Vega and Ybanez teamed up.

With the Golden Spikers clinging on to a five point lead, 14-9, following a Obed Mukaba attack, Ybanez ended the match and secured the reverse sweep with a kill.

Umandal backstopped Ybanez’s monster game with 15 points, while de Vega had 11.

Disquitado had 20 points for NU, while Leo Aringo Jr. chipped in 19.

Nico Almendras and Makaba added 13 and 12, respectively.

The loss snapped NU’s seven game winning streak.

The Bulldogs dropped to 7-2 in the season. Both losses thus far came from the Espana-based squad.

UST, on the other hand, jump-started its Final Four bid as they rose to 5-4, tied with the Ateneo Blue Eagles, who also won a tough five-setter over winless University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons, 25-15, 18-25, 25-15, 20-25, 15-10, earlier in the day.

Ken Batas exploded for 30 points for Ateneo, while Jian Salarzon followed suit with 20 points. Amil Pacinio also had 16 for the Blue Eagles.

Jaivee Malabanan led the charge for the Fighting Maroons with 19 points, while Louis Gamban chipped in 17 of his own.

UP continued its freefall as they slipped to 0-9 in the season.