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UAAP 85 Tennis: Ateneo books return trip to Finals, awaits winner of UST-NU


Ateneo de Manila University secured a return trip to the UAAP Men’s Tennis Finals after defeating University of the East, 3-1, in the Final Four on Saturday at the Felicisimo Ampon Tennis Center.

Senior and co-captain Gab Tiamson overcame a slow start to send the Blue Eagles back to the championship round, where he made his mark as a rookie against National University in Season 81. Tiamson took care of Norman Gaspar in the third singles match, 6-4, 6-3, to wrap up the win for Ateneo.

“Honestly, we were not thinking about the Finals because we know UE is a tough team. In fact, kudos to them, it’s very hard. So, every point was hard-earned,” said Blue Eagles coach Gee Abacan, who is looking to steer Ateneo to its first men’s tennis title since UAAP Season 63.

“Nothing will change. We’ll continue doing what we’ve been doing since the first semester, we’ll continue to train,” he added.

The Blue Eagles earned the twice-to-beat incentive last Wednesday after a 3-2 win over the Red Warriors.

Now, Tiamson and the rest of the Blue Eagles will have to wait for their Finals opponents as University of Santo Tomas forced a do-or-die tie with a win against reigning champions Bulldogs, 3-1.

UST coach Johnny Arcilla said, “Maintain lang yung kundisyon nila. Maganda ‘yung kundisyon ng mga bata. Talagang dehado lang sa doubles, pero lumalaban naman. Konting adjustment lang siguro. Kami, papalakasin na lang namin ‘yung singles namin.”

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Nio Tria and Mik Balce put Ateneo on the board after taking down Rastly Baje and Ryle Singson in two tiebreak sets, 7-6, 7-6, in the first doubles match.

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National squad-capped Jed Olivarez then followed it up with a huge 7-6, 6-3 win in the first singles match for a huge 2-0 advantage.

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Jarrell Edangga got one back for the Red Warriors, 7-5, 6-0, in the second singles match to put them on the board, but it was all the fourth-seeds could manage as Tiamson closed out the tie and secured the victory for Ateneo.

On the other hand, the Tennisters leaned on Sebastian Santos’ come-from-behind win over Jules Lazaro of the Bulldogs, 1-6, 6-4, 7-6, to force a deciding tie on Sunday.

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Triple Intercollegiate champion Nilo Ledema put UST up after a clinical performance against Vince Tugade, 6-2, 6-0 in the first singles match.

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The Bulldogs leveled the tie with Ibarra Ortega and Gab Bandoquillo, 6-4, 3-6, 6-1, over Vince Serino and Steven Sonsona in the first doubles.

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Ericjay Tangub then set up Santos’ finish, taking down Aljon Talatayod, 6-2, 6-0 for a 2-1 margin in the tie.

The Bulldogs held the playoff incentive after defeating the Tennisters, 3-2, also last Wednesday.

Grew to appreciate various sports from tennis to judo. True-maroon kiddo since the new millennium. Fanboy. Singer. Occasional sports writer.


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