Tennisters stay unbeaten, grab crownHow sweep it is. The UST Lawn Tennis team celebrate after being crowned outright champions by staying undefeated in the entire tournament.
KErwin patrick m. mercadal
INEXPERIENCE is not a factor, after all.This the rookie-laden UST Tennis teams proved in convincing fashion as they finally ditched their perennial bridesmaid tag with a methodical sweep of the UAAP Tennis titles last Feb. 4 at the Rizal Racket Club in Pasig City.
Season 69 co-Rookies of the Year Ryan Repunte and James Cañete delivered the exclamation in the Male Tennisters’ resounding title surge as they outshone their singles rivals from the veteran-powered University of the Philippines (UP) en route to a title-clinching 3-0 team victory.
“This win was sweet because all the hard work and sacrifice that the team put up has paid of,” UST Tennisters coach Karl Santamaria told the Varsitarian. “But winning the championship is only a bonus as the team’s bigger goal of improving each member as a player and as a person has been achieved.”
Up against the hard-hitting Eufracio Dimayuga in the deciding third set, Repunte prodded the ball from all angles of the court to register a 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 humdinger in the second singles action.
With the score pegged at 6-6, UST got a scare when Repunte succumbed to cramps. But after receiving treatment, the gritty Repunte scored a service ace that forced Dimayuga into an error. A tiebreaker round is played when the score is tied at five points apiece.
Earlier, UST’s Cañete repulsed three-year UAAP veteran Nathaniel Guadayao via a game penalty in the first singles pairing.
Guadayao suffered cramps for the second time and was given a 20-second breather before coming back in the game. The rules state that only one medical-related timeout is allowed in a game.Guadayao, however, failed to suit up within the 20-second timeframe after three calls which automatically forfeited his chances of rebounding from a 6-5 deficit.
At the onset of UST’s championship drive, Seaon 69 MVP Wlbur Orillano and doubles partner Alexander Diego
used an array of well-timed crosscourt drives and shorts smashes in a 6-1, 6-0 annihilation of UP’s James Pang and Jeremiah Sison.
Champions at last
Unlike their male counterparts, the hard-fighting Lady Tennisters went through an easier path in claiming their first UAAP title via a 4-1 conquest of the Lady Maroons.
“Our deep bench greatly helped us win the title,” Lady Tennisters Dennis Sta. Cruz said. “Everyone, from our starters to role players, is trained to give opponents a run for their money.”
Rookie sensation Martina Rivero sparked UST’s early breakaway with an impressive 6-3, 6-3 win over UP’s Ana Soriano in the first singles match.
UST made it two in a row as Season 69 MVP Ara Micayabas and freshman player Kwin Bilugan recovered from a lethargic second set to subdue the UP tandem of Karen Guillermo and Micah Valenzuela, 6-0, 3-6, 6-4.
The Lady Tennisters virtually sealed the deal in the second doubles encounter as May Herrera and Kat Castro cruised past UP’s Tiara Guadayao and Regina Monsod, 6-1, 6-3.
Newcomer Angel Macatangay also made her presence felt as she capped her UAAP debut with a 7-5, 6-4, beating of UP’s Maxine Abrogar.
Heading into the finals, the Male and Lady Tennisters carved similar 4-1 victories against the University of the East and Ateneo de Manila University, respectively, last Feb. 3.
Anthony Andrew G. Divinagracia and Raymond Jude M. Dumaual
Vol. LXXVIII, No. 9 • February 27, 2007http://www.varsitarian.com/archivedetail.asp?ArticleID=7809310002&Sections=Sports
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