“Parang it’s mission accomplished,” said National University women’s tennis head coach Karl Santamaria.
With five players taking a bow after this season, the reigning champions had to make it count. “We had to find, within ourselves, the motivation to really push,” the multi-titled mentor shared.
And they did just that.
The Lady Bulldogs went all out in the first three matches and swept the University of Santo Tomas Female Tennisters, 3-0, to claim their fourth straight UAAP title, Sunday afternoon at the Rizal Memorial Tennis Center.
Last season’s Most Valuable Player Tin Patrimonio dominated Precian Rivera in the opening set of the first singles match at 6-0. The tennis star then had to fend off an aggressive opponent to complete the sweep at 6-3.
“Nakakalungkot, nasanay ako na kasama si Tin,” said Clarice Patrimonio. “But I guess next year, I’ll try my best.”
Jzash Canja and Junnalyn Polito then doubled the lead for the Bustillos-based squad after getting the first doubles match off Genevieve Caorte and Shymae Gitalan.
The first set of the match was tight at the beginning, as both pairs traded service holds and breaks at 2-2, before NU took the next four games. The momentum carried over in the second set as Canja and Polito blanked UST for the win.
Eventual MVP Awardee Clarice Patrimonio wasted no time in securing the title after just three matches. The third-year stalwart made the right in-match adjustments to take down Erika Manduriao in straight sets, 6-1, 6-3.
“We are just focused on the game,” said Clarice Patrimonio, who bagged the league’s highest individual honor for the second time in three years.
For Santamaria, it had not been really smooth sailing for them outside the tennis court.
“It was about keeping them together, keeping them hungry. It is a different set of problems: how to battle complacency, how to battle being satisfied already,” he added.
Nonetheless, none of that happened today and the Lady Bulldogs romped to their fourth consecutive crown.