Asian Volleyball

Two-time UAAP MVP Ybañez turns libero for Alas, joins Espejo in AVC Challenge Cup

JR Isaga

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Two-time UAAP MVP Ybañez turns libero for Alas, joins Espejo in AVC Challenge Cup

ROARING. UST spiker Josh Ybañez (13) reacts in the UAAP Season 86 men's volleyball tournament

UAAP Season 86 Media Team

Reigning UAAP men's volleyball MVP and Best Outside Hitter Josh Ybañez puts his floor defense skills to the test in his Alas Pilipinas debut as a converted libero in the upcoming AVC Challenge Cup in Bahrain

MANILA, Philippines – Two-time reigning UAAP men’s volleyball MVP Josh Ybañez is set to make his Alas Pilipinas national team debut as the 2024 Asian Volleyball Confederation (AVC) Challenge Cup for Men rolls around this June 2 to 9 (June 3 to 10, Manila time) in Isa Town, Bahrain.

A two-time reigning UAAP Best Outside Hitter, the high-flying Ybañez will now put his impeccable floor defense skills front and center instead, with head coach Sergio Veloso converting him as one of the two team liberos per a Philippine National Volleyball Federation (PNVF) release on Monday, May 27.

Standing in Ybañez place on the wing spiker slots is an assembly line of established hitters, namely longtime national team star Marck Espejo, Nico Almendras, Jau Umandal, Noel Kampton, Jade Disquitado, and Leo Ordiales.

Espejo’s usual national team running mate and club team rival Bryan Bagunas has apparently begged off on this latest tour of duty.

Making up the front line defense are middle blockers JP Bugaoan, Kim Malabunga, Lloyd Josafat, and Peng Taguibolos, while Vince Lorenzo joins Ybañez in the backrow as libero.

Recently-crowned UAAP champion and two-time Best Setter Owa Retamar has been tapped as main playmaker, with Joseph Bello backing him up.

World No. 57 Alas first faces No. 31 China on June 2 (June 3, 12:30 am Manila time), before clashing against No. 67 host Bahrain on June 3 (June 4, 12:30 am Manila time). –

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