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DLSU crushes Ateneo, keeps Finals dreams alive

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Bounce back big.

The De La Salle University (DLSU) Lady Archers smothered archrivals Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU) Lady Eagles, 4-1, to maintain their aspirations of reaching the Finals last Sunday, February 8 at the Olivarez College Tennis Center in Parañaque City.

Third-year veteran Nikki Arandia started the onslaught for the green and white as she outplayed Ateneo rookie Kathleen Espedido, 6-1 6-1. Arandia was her usual self as she was able to hit clean winners against the porous Ateneo defense. Service woes from Lady Eagle Espedido hampered her chances of mounting even a slight comeback in the match.

In the following singles match, La Salle’s ace player Marinel Rudas pummeled yet another ADMU newcomer Naomi Riskin in straight sets, 6-0 6-0. The La Sallian was able to control the match with excellent serving and powerful returns as Riskin was limited to score from mostly just the errors of the former.

Ateneo had something to celebrate though as Shannin Olivarez and Jana Hernandez dominated Lynnette Palasan and Janina Luis, 6-1 6-3. The two third-year Ateneans played excellently as they were able to serve well and force their opponents into errors. DLSU was relegated to playing defense as Olivarez and Hernandez pounded on powerful returns.

The Atenean twin towers of Jessica Lagman and Jana Exconde fought hard but it was Jenni Dizon and Princess Castillo of DLSU who took the second doubles matchup, 6-2 7-6(7). Dizon, who played well in their most recent match with UP, continued to provide the spark for DLSU with her powerful returns. Castillo on her part served well and denied their opponents clear returns. This combination proved instrumental especially in that second set win.

Rachelle de Guzman sealed the deal for La Salle as she upended fellow sophomore player Khrizelle Sampaton, 6-2 6-4. It was a tight affair as Sampaton was able to keep in step with the solid La Sallian singles standout. De Guzman was able to break free from the Atenean resistance with her overall court control and timely hitting.

With the win, DLSU at 4-2 are just half-a-tie behind second-running University of Santo Tomas (4-3), and keep their Finals rematch dreams with the defending champions National University alive.

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Grew to appreciate various sports from tennis to judo. True-maroon kiddo since the new millennium. Fanboy. Singer. Occasional sports writer.

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