UNIVERSITY of Santo Tomas booked its Final Four spot with a 25-23, 25-19, 25-21 win over Ateneo de Manila University for its eighth straight win in the UAAP Season 85 men’s volleyball tournament, Saturday at the Philsports Arena in Pasig.
The Golden Spikers, who are also assured of a playoff for a twice-to-beat incentive rose to 10-1, still second behind unbeaten National University, while the Blue Eagles fell to fifth at 5-6.
“Ngayong nasecure na namin yung Final Four, next step namin yung susunod na game namin FEU hanggang matapos namin itong elimination,” said UST assistant coach Benjamin Mape, who called the shots in lieu of head tactician Odjie Mamon. “Hopefully makuha namin yung second spot na maisahan namin ang NU kasi yun ang talagang target namin para walang stepladder.
“Maganda yung ginawa ng mga bata kahit na wala yung head coach namin, yung tiwala nila sa coaching staff nandoon,” he added.
Mamon and opposite spiker Jayrack Dela Noche are with the national team in Japan for a training camp in preparation for the 32nd Southeast Asian Games.
With Ateneo ahead 19-18 in the third frame, Charlee Magpayo lifted the Golden Spikers by scoring four points in their 7-2 blast to end the match in 89 minutes.
Josh Ybañez filled the stat sheet for UST with 15 points, 11 excellent receptions, and nine digs, while Rainier Flor delivered 13 points.
Gboy De Vega also got 12 points while libero Van Tracy Prudenciado had 13 digs and eight receptions. Magpayo added seven points.
Jian Salarzon was the lone Blue Eagle in double figures with 10 points while Amil Pacinio made nine points and 12 excellent receptions.
Both teams will next meet Far Eastern University. Ateneo will face the Tamaraws on Wednesday while UST will have its turn on April 23.