UST Tennisters just a win away from UAAP crown

Photo by Franz Martin Dizon/THE FLAME

THE UST Male Tennisters and Female Tennisters moved closer to the crown on Wednesday after winning over their respective rivals during the start of the UAAP Season 86 finals at the Rizal Memorial Tennis Court.

The Thomasian tennis teams need to win just one more match to clinch the championship.

Defending champion UST Male Tennisters outplayed the Ateneo Blue Eagles in the men’s lawn tennis division after a tight match, 3-2.

Ateneo grabbed an early lead after JD Velez defeated Rookie-MVP Nilo Ledama in a three-set first singles match, 0-6, 6-4, 4-6.

Ericjay Tangub suffered a 4-6, 6-0 loss to Ateneo’s Noy Seno in the second singles bout.

UST kept its title hopes alive after Richard Bautista and Nash Agustines dominated the first doubles match against Steff Guria and JJ Lavore, 6-0, 6-4.

Sebastian Santos evened the score with a straight-set victory over Austin Delos Santos in the third singles match, 7-5, 6-1.

The deciding point came in the doubles match, where the Thomasian duo of Steven Sonsona and Symor Jaculan outlasted Axl Gonzaga and Nio Tria in a three-set battle, 7-6, 6-7, 7-5.

UST head coach Alexander Diego acknowledged the challenge posed by Ateneo’s lineup adjustments as he vowed to maintain their momentum as they head to Game 2.

“We will adjust our lineup and talk with the players and other coaches because they (Ateneo) adjusted their lineup, and we will think of it for the second game,” Diego told The Flame. 

The title-hungry UST Female Tennisters took control early against last season’s champion NU Lady Bulldogs, 3-1.

Kaye Emana secured a hard-fought victory over Elsie Abarquez in the first singles match, 7-5, 7-6.

UST’s Alexei Santos dominated the second singles match, overcoming NU’s JM Carcueva with a 6-3, 6-1 victory. 

The NU duo of Allysa Bornia and Alliyah Ragunton forced a 1-1 tie with a convincing win over Debbie Gom-os and Miles Vitaliano in the first doubles match, 6-2, 6-4.

Minette Bentillo and Justine Maneja secured the win for UST after beating Angela Cabaral and Rovie Baulete in the second doubles match, 6-2, 6-4.

UST team captain Nicole Bautista emphasized the importance of motivation and teamwork as her team prepares for the next game.

“I gave them pieces of advice and motivation because it’s been years since we reached the finals,” Bautista told The Flame

“For the second game, we (will) just trust ourselves; we’re going to play for the team, for ourselves, and for the UST. We want to give it all and bring it back to UST,” she added.

The men’s team is determined to defend its crown and claim its 15th title, while the women’s team is bent on ending NU’s reign and capture its first title since Season 81. 

With the momentum on their side, both UST teams will look to end the series during game 2 of the finals on Saturday, April 6, at the Felicisimo Ampon Tennis Center. F

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