ROOKIE Josh Ybañez has been weaving wonders as the University of Santo Tomas (UST) Golden Spikers booked their best first round finish in 12 years in University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) men’s volleyball action.
The 19-year-old Josh Ybañez, an under-the-radar recruit, continued to show maturity for a UST side that won six of its first seven matches.
Ybañez became the first male volleyball player to be voted as the Collegiate Press Corps UAAP Player of the Week presented by San Miguel Corp. and the Philippine Sports Commission for the period March 15 to 19.
Despite being tagged as a super rookie, the high-flying player from General Santos City makes sure to always keep his feet on the ground as he remains eager to be better for his team.
“I refuse to be called a super rookie. I am always open to what my coaches tell me,” said Ybañez the league’s second leading scorer 147 points, best server with 0.54 aces per set and third best spiker with 43.07% attack rate after the first round.
Ybañez is the third freshman to earn the recognition after De La Salle’s Angel Canino and Adamson University’s Trisha Tubu. He got a unanimous vote by the group of print and online reporters covering collegiate leagues.
The 5-foot-7 spiker, described by his coach Odjie Mamon as “small but terrible,” poured in a season-high 31 points to torch Ateneo, 21-25, 28-26, 25-21, 25-21, on Wednesday at the FilOil EcoOil Centre.
He became the first rookie this season to score more than 30 points as he uncorked 26 attacks, three blocks and two aces on top of a tremendous defensive effort with 14 excellent receptions and eight digs.
Following his career game, Ybañez ended the first round with a bang as he fired a game-high six service aces to finish with 18 points in their 25-17, 25-21, 25-23 win over University of the East to end the round with four consecutive victories on Saturday.
Mamon said that the best is yet to come for Ybañez, who has also been stellar on the defensive end as he rose as the No.2 Best Receiver in the league with 55.97% efficiency, Top 9 Best Digger with 1.68 digs per set, and No. 10 blocker with 0.50 blocks per set.
Ybañez beat UST’s Regina Jurado and Eya Laure, National University’s Bella Belen and De La Salle’s Angel Canino and Fifi Sharma for the weekly citation which has MNL Kingpin, Tinapayan Festival, and Jockey as minor sponsors.