A large-scale payback at the opportune time.
Reigning champions National University (NU) outmuscled erstwhile co-leader University of Santo Tomas (UST) 5-0 to avenge their first round loss and secure a return trip to the Finals on Sunday, February 8, at the Olivarez College Tennis Center in Parañaque.
Third-year veteran Hannah Espinosa started the ball rolling for the reigning queens as she pummeled the replacement rookie Amea Rosales, 6-0 6-2. Rosales was called up to play in lieu of her fellow newbie Ingrid Gonzales, who was injured in their previous match against UP. The NU junior outplayed the Tigress freshman as she was able to string up a couple of unanswered points en route to the win.
Leading Most Valuable Player (MVP) candidate Clarice Patrimonio continued to dominate her opponents as she demolished UST sophomore Kandies Malinis, 6-2 6-0. The younger Patrimonio was able to play clinically well as she served well and forced Malinis into committing errors. The NU newcomer has not dropped a match all season and has lost just one set.
Her older sister Tin Patrimonio provided the story of this tie as the current MVP requited the previous loss against Tigress stalwart Macy Gonzales, 6-0 6-1. The Lady Bulldog star was able to control the match this time as she was able to counter any move of the Season 74 MVP.
Jzash Canja and Junnelyn Polito played better to sweep the erstwhile strong Tigress team-up of April Santos and Lenelyn Milo, 6-2 7-6(2). The Bulldogs’ tandem was able to neutralize the net play the UST duo is known for. Ana Bienes and Marie Nagret clinched the sweep for the defending titlists as they beat Genevieve Caorte and Shymae Gitalan in a similar scoreline.
With the win, the Lady Bulldogs advance to another title showdown for the second straight season, three years after fielding in a women’s tennis team for the first time in UAAP history.
NU will try to close the eliminations with a sweep against fourth-running University of the Philippines, Saturday, February 14, at the same venue. UST will try to salvage their Finals hopes as they face winless Ateneo de Manila University also on Saturday.