Closing it well.
University of the Philippines (UP) Lady Maroons routed winless Ateneo de Manila University, 4-1, to close their season with a win, Sunday, February 15, at Olivarez College Tennis Center.
It was a risky move again for the Maroons, as UP put captain Bancy Peña on the first singles match against Ateneo’s Kathleen Espedido. It paid off though as the third-year veteran swept the Lady Eagle, 6-1 6-1. Peña was able to dictate the pace with his timely returns. Espedido’s serving woes did not help her even mount a comeback.
The Ateneans had something to build on the other court as rookie Jana Hernandez and junior Shannin Olivarez won the first set of the first doubles match, 6-4. Olivarez was successful on his powerful ground strokes as she scored winners in this manner. Former Rookie of the Year and graduating Sarah Lim with her partner Nicole Eugenio, however, breezed through the following sets to take the win for UP. The Lady Maroons tandem was able to control the next sets with excellent service and net play. The second and third sets ended in similar 6-2 score lines for UP.
Khrizelle Sampaton took one for the Blue and White as she upended another outgoing UP veteran Meds Ramos, 6-3 6-2. The Atenean sophomore played well both on service and on defense as she went on a barrage of points that waylaid the Lady Maroon. Ramos was able to keep in step in a few occasions with good returns.
Second-year players CJ Valdez and Monica Bañez clinched the win for UP as they swept the Lady Eagle duo of fifth-year veteran Jessica Lagman and her partner Jana Exconde, 6-2 6-3. UP proved too strong for the Ateneans as they dictated the match with court control. The Lady Eagles were able to capitalize off a few chances as UP failed to close out. Bañez took control as she finished the match on her serve.
Sophomore player Alexis Borela completed the rout for the Lady Maroons as she dismantled Ateneo rookie Sam Martin, 6-0 6-1. It was a clinic of great tennis as Borela made it easy on serve and broke Martin several times in the match. Martin’s erratic service made it worse for the Ateneo, giving up freebie points for UP. In the single chance Martin had she was able to connect on a winner, but the Lady Maroon would close it out well.
UP and Ateneo finished their season the way they finished last year at fourth and fifth place, respectively.