UST's Gboy de Vega recovers from a fumbling start to help the Golden Spikers complete a come-from-behind win against the defending champions NU Bulldogs, 28-30, 22-25, 25-23, 25-22, 15-9. (Photo by Albert Earl A. Gomez/ The Varsitarian)

Throughout this UAAP season, the Golden Spikers have grappled with errors, notably affecting Gboy de Vega, who served as a reliable second option for UST last season. 

However, in their latest match against the defending champions NU Bulldogs, De Vega showed resilience. Despite a rough start, where he scored only one point and made five errors in 11 attempts, he managed to bounce back and finish with 11 points.

Actually, kanina nawawala na rin talaga ako, hindi ko na alam,” De Vega said postgame. “Normal naman siguro ‘yon, dumadating sa atin talaga na bad game, bad day.”

But being reinserted into the game by his coaches gave De Vega the opportunity for redemption.

His performance down the stretch, including a five-point burst in the fourth set, was crucial in UST pulling off the 28-30, 22-25, 25-23, 25-22, 15-9 victory at the Araneta Coliseum on March 24.

“I feel so happy and blessed despite na nag-struggle ako kanina, hindi nawala ‘yong tiwala sa akin ng coaches ko,” De Vega said. “At sa pagbalik nila sa akin sa court, doon ako nakabawi.”

UST star Josh Ybañez has been lacking a consistent number two option to support him. Ybañez currently leads the league as the top scorer with 218 points in nine games as well as a spiking success rate of 45.02 percent.

As they strive to reach the Final Four, the Golden Spikers need De Vega, who ranked sixth in last year’s MVP race, to be a reliable offensive option. De Vega has been averaging 12 points per game with a 36.73-percent success rate in the attacking department.

The Golden Spikers rank third in spiking efficiency as a team, boasting a success rate of 40.80 percent. However, they have also accumulated a total of 164 attack errors and 110 service errors so far, the most in the league.

UST assistant coach Benjamin Mape said that despite the players’ struggles with errors, the coaching staff continues to have faith in them.

“Actually, lahat ng player namin, buo ang tiwala namin sa kanila umpisa pa lang ng UAAP noong ipasok namin sila sa lineup,” he said. “Ang kailangan lang ay perfect timing. So, nag-deliver si Kenneth [Salvador], at the same time si GBoy naka-recover noong ibinalik doon sa time na kailangang kailangan.” 

UST is currently tied with the Ateneo Blue Eagles for the fourth seed, both holding a 5-4 win-loss record.

The Golden Spikers will next face the Adamson Soaring Falcons at noon on Wednesday, April 3, at the Mall of Asia Arena. With reports from Diana May B. Cabalo