The UST Golden Spikers complete a reverse sweep to top the NU Bulldogs, 28-30, 22-25, 25-23, 25-22, 15-9, in the UAAP Season 86 men's volleyball tournament at the Smart Araneta Coliseum on Sunday, March 24. (Photo by Albert Earl A. Gomez/ The Varsitarian)

THE UST Golden Spikers shocked the NU Bulldogs via reverse sweep, 28-30, 22-25, 25-23, 25-22, 15-9, to sweep their UAAP Season 86 elimination-round series against the defending champions at the Araneta Coliseum on March 24, Sunday.

The win improved the Golden Spikers’ Final Four chances as they now have a 5-4 record alongside the Ateneo Blue Eagles. The erstwhile top-seeded Bulldogs dropped to a 7-2 slate, surrendering the top spot to the 7-1 FEU Tamaraws.

The Golden Spikers started the game scorching hot, mounting a 14-3 lead with all three NU points coming from their errors. 

However, the Bulldogs came alive and shocked the Golden Spikers with a 27-14 run to snatch the first set, 30-28. 

NU took a 2-0 lead after a 25-22 win in the second set. 

With UST down two sets to none, the Golden Spikers retaliated in the third frame and denied a late NU surge, 25-23. 

In the fourth set, the Golden Spikers were trailing NU by seven, 15-8, before going on a 17-7 run to extend the game to five sets.

With the score at 3-all in the final period, UST blitzed away with a game-sealing 12-6 spurt capped by a Josh Ybañez combination play that completed the reverse sweep, 15-9.

Ybañez had a new career-high with 34 points built on 31 attacks, two blocks and one ace. He also tallied 25 excellent receptions.

“I’m super happy kasi nakapag-perform na naman pala ako without knowing na nakakuha na pala ako ng 34 points,” Ybañez told the Varsitarian. “‘Iyong mga career-high performance ko is hindi nagma-matter sa akin. Ang nagma-matter talaga sakin ay ‘yong mga panalo namin.”

Ybañez eclipsed his previous career high of 33 points tallied in a loss against the Ateneo Blue Eagles on March 20. 

Sherwin Umandal and Gboy de Vega chimed in with 15 and 11 points, respectively. 

Bulldogs Jade Desquitado and Leo Aringo led NU with 20 and 19 markers, respectively. 

The UST Golden Spikers will have a week-long break to give way for the Holy Week. They will next face the Adamson Soaring Falcons at noon on Wednesday, April 3, at the Mall of Asia Arena.