Veteran stalwart Joel Cabusas carried last year’s runners-up, the University of Santo Tomas Golden Netters, into an opening day win against the De La Salle University Green Netters, 3-2, Saturday at the Rizal Memorial Tennis Center.
La Salle snatched the first two singles matches as Kyle Parpan and LA Canizares took care of UST rookie Dave Mosqueda and Nico Lanzado, both in straight sets. Parpan disposed of the newcomer, 6-2, 6-2, to start the day for the Green and White. After allowing Mosqueda to hold his first two serves, Parpan managed to control the match with powerful returns and timely winners to secure the first frame. Mosqueda forced the veteran La Sallian to errors in the following frame, but the power of the latter prevailed late in the match.
In the second singles match, Canizares swept Lanzado in two similar 6-3 score lines. The UST sophomore started strong in both sets after taking the first two games of either frame, before the third-year Canizares mounted comebacks in the match. The Green Netter tallied winners and turned to his serve to finish off his opponents in just two sets.
The Golden Netters proved their mettle in the doubles match when Francis Patiño and Mart Cabahug, and Bernlu Bering and Christian Lopez, upended their respective DLSU opponents. Patiño and Cabahug snared the first doubles match over Jonah Cano and Betto Orendain, 7-6 6-3. The Thomasian pair took their momentum from the first set and completely dominated Cano and Orendain in the following set.
On the other hand, Bering and Lopez used their strong starts in both sets to defeat Hans Asistio and Dale Gorospe, 6-2, 6-2, to force the third singles match into a decider. La Salle had their moments in the match, but the early lead by UST was too much to overcome.
At the end of the day, senior player Cabusas turned back third-year Qoqo Allian to snatch the victory for the España-based squad with a straight-set win, 6-4, 6-2. The junior La Sallian levelled the first set at 3 games on well-placed services, but it was the crucial winners from Cabusas that sealed the deal.