De La Salle-Santiago Zobel bagged back-to-back championships in the boys’ division of the UAAP High School Table Tennis Tournament after sweeping arch-rival University of Santo Tomas, 2-0, in the championship series, Saturday at the Makati Coliseum.
This is the school’s first title of the season and the third overall in the event.
On the other hand, the Junior Lady Paddlers of UST regained the girls’ tiara after denying reigning champion Zobel a back-to-back with a similar 2-0 sweep in the championship round.
The championship is the first for UST High School this season and the third since UAAP Season 80.
Troy Docto provided the crucial wins for the Junior Green Paddlers in the two ties against UST to steer his squad to the title.
He took down Jebb Datahan in the first tie’s second singles rubber, 11-5, 11-6, 9-11, 11-8 to level that tie, before the eventual Most Valuable Player stopped Jhiven Clamucha, 11-6, 6-11, 11-5, 7-11, 11-5, for another equalizer in the second.
Andrei Villacruel then got the job done in the third singles match of the second tie against Lawrence Melendrez, 11-7, 11-7, 11-7, to secure the championship for Zobel.
“Mahirap kasi li-lima lang talaga yung players namin. Para ma-complete yung eight persons sa lineup, we need na kumuha dun sa mga homegrown namin against dun sa mga opponents namin na complete sila sa mga skilled players,” DLSZ head coach Jun Glorioso admitted.
“Anyway, it is all about the pagpasok ng tao eh. Medyo sinuwerte and nag-work naman yung laban. Hindi na nagpabaya yung lima naming tao para manalo. Yun po yung naging key,” he continued.
Eventual ROY-MVP Althea Gudes started and finished the title run for the UST girls after taking the first singles match of the first tie and the championship-clinching win in the second.
Gudes opened the showdown with an 11-3, 11-5, 11-2 domination of Samarah Buan. She then pushed her squad to a return to the throne, winning past Chrishein Santillan, 11-4, 11-6, 12-10, to close out the season in style.
J-An Sanchez earlier needed to carry the Junior Lady Paddlers to a marathon 11-6, 9-11, 11-5, 6-11, 13-11 conquest of Althea Salvador for the 1-0 lead in the series.
UST head coach Lorinda Wadjad said, “Actually, they tried their best. We already anticipated that La Salle has good players naman. Ang advantage lang namin, we are complete. That’s why we anticipated and tried to fight and finish at 3-0 at least para wala na silang kaba.”