SEBASTIAN Santos and University of Santo Tomas ended an 11-year title drought after turning back Ateneo de Manila University, 3-2, in Tie 2 of the UAAP Season 85 Men’s Tennis Finals on Saturday at the Felicisimo Ampon Tennis Center in Manila.
The Tennisters completed a two-tie sweep of the Finals series after a similar 3-2 decision in the first tie last Wednesday.
The Palawan-born rookie took down Blue Eagles co-captain Gab Tiamson, 6-3, 7-5, in the deciding singles match to claim his school’s 15th title in the event.
“Malaki ang pasasalamat namin sa UST kasi grabe yung suporta nila sa athletes eh. Sinuklian ng players yung ginawa nila,” head coach Alexander Diego said.
“Although galing kaming playoffs at ang hirap ng pinagdaanan namin, pero yung mga players ginusto nila talaga ‘tong mag-champion,” he continued.
The second set went on serve for six games before an exchange of service breaks saw Santos take the 6-5 lead.
From there, the Thomasian standout ground it out to take UST’s eighth championship for the season, fittingly on his own serve.
The two sides split their first four assignments to set up the decider, with Nio Tria and Mik Balce forcing the equalizer for Ateneo with a 6-2, 6-3 win in the second doubles over Geo Serino and Red Directo.
Jed Olivarez kept his streak for Ateneo with a 6-3, 0-6, 4-1 (retired) to put the Blue Eagles on the board in the first singles, but the lead did not last long as Steven Sonsona and Symon Jaculan took the first doubles over JJ Llavore and Stef Gurria, 6-3, 6-3.
The new kings of UAAP Tennis then took the 2-1 advantage with eventual Rookie of the Year and Most Valuable Player Nilo Ledama taking the pivotal second singles match over Diego Dayrit, 6-0, 6-1.
National University took bronze this season.
The women’s podium was also awarded with NU getting its back-to-back championship at the expense of first-time finalist University of the Philippines. UST completed the circle of winners.
NU’s Alyssa Bornia took the Most Valuable Player award, while UP’s Joshea Malazarte was the top rookie.