Josh Ybañez ready to show his mettle at Alas Pilipinas

Josh Ybañez ready to show his mettle at Alas Pilipinas

/ 05:21 PM May 18, 2024

Josh Ybanez UST Golden Spikers UAAP Season 86 men's volleyball Finals

UST Golden Spikers’ Josh Ybañez.–MARLO CUETO/INQUIRER.net

MANILA, Philippines — Josh Ybañez is raring to show what he is capable of after getting a call-up to be part of the 21-man pool of Alas Pilipinas, which opens its road to the country’s hosting of the FIVB Men’s World Championship next year.

After the University of Santo Tomas settled for another runner-up finish in the UAAP, Ybañez, now a two-time UAAP MVP, has shifted his focus to the Philippine men’s volleyball team.

“Masaya ako because soon, I’ll be representing our country. Wala ng pahinga. Excited ako and ready ako ipaglaban ang country,” Ybañez told reporters after UST lost to NU in the finals for the second straight year on Wednesday at Mall of Asia Arena.

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Ybañez is ready to prove himself by competing against high-caliber spikers in overseas champions Bryan Bagunas and Marck Espejo as well as former Spikers’ Turf MVP and national team mainstay Jau Umandal.

“Siguro naman may mga aspect sa volleyball na kaya ko silang sabayan so dun ako siguro lulusot,” said the UST star. “Healthy competition. Suportahan kung sino man ang masalang. If ever hindi, okay lang din naman teammates ko pa rin sila.”

Among the outside hitters in the national pool are Mark Calado, Louie Ramirez, Nico Almendras, Jade Disquitado, and Noel Kampton. Sherwin Umandal, the younger brother of Jau, and Leo Ordiales are the opposite spikers. The middle blockers are Kim Malabunga, JP Bugaon, Lloyd Josafat, Choi Diao, and Peng Taguibolos.

NU’s Finals MVP and Best Setter Owa Retamar will be making his national team comeback with fellow playmakers Joseph Bello and Adrian Villados, while liberos Vince Lorenzo and UAAP Best Libero Menard Guerrero will be taking care of the nationals’ floor.

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The 5-foot-7 spiker has played his heart out in every UAAP game as UST became the first No.4 seed to reach the Finals in the UAAP men’s volleyball. He is out to show the same mentality when he became the league’s first rookie MVP after Espejo.

“Yung mindset ko na pagiging rookie. Dala dala ko pa rin yun until now na iniisip ko lang na rookie pa rin ako. Rookie na marunong mag-lead, marunong magsalita, marunong mag-communicate sa mga teammates,” Ybañez said. “Open for learnings, suggestions alam mo yung absorb lang ako nang absorb. Of course, ifi-filter ko rin naman yung mga iaabsorb ko.”

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The General Santos native is ready to live his dream as the training pool prepares for Alas men’s first competition of the year in the AVC Challenge Cup in Bahrain in two weeks.

“Every volleyball player siguro is dreaming about being part of the national team. Ako naman siguro, with my height, with my skills, parang sobrang pinagdudahan ko yung sarili ko na ‘ay parang wala na akong chance sa ganyan’ but now I’m so happy na binigay sakin ni God, binigyan ako ng opportunity na makapasok and makatulong,” Ybañez said.

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TAGS: Alas Pilipinas, Josh Ybanez

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