DEFENDING champion National University forced a quadruple tie in the Final Four-bound teams at 9-3 after taking down erstwhile-leader University of the East, 3-2, at the end of the UAAP Season 85 Men’s Tennis tournament eliminations on Sunday at the Felicisimo Ampon Tennis Center.
The Red Warriors will take on Ateneo de Manila University, while the Bulldogs will face the University of Santo Tomas, in the two separate virtual best-of-three series in the playoffs starting on Wednesday.
Rucel Cero and Jude Ceniza ground it out in the third-set tiebreak of the deciding doubles match at 7-4 to stop Rastly Baje and Ryle Singson, 2-6, 6-3, 7-6, to secure the win for the Bulldogs after the two squads split the other four assignments.
Vince Tugade put NU on the board first with a 6-4, 6-0 victory over Norman Gaspar, while Ibarra Ortega and Gab Bandoquillo took down Dawson Ormoc and Prince Bo Lastimosa, 6-3, 6-4, to put the reigning champs on the cusp of securing the win.
The Red Warriors, though, won the two matches with Jarell Eddanga and Marc Suson keeping them in the tie. Eddanga won against Jules Lazaro, 6-4, 6-4, while Suson posted contrasting sets over Ajon Talatayod, 6-4, 6-0, to force the decider in the second doubles rubber.
Those two matches won pushed UE into the first place of the four-way logjam at 9-3 with NU, UST, and Ateneo – the last two winning their final assignments of the eliminations as well.
The Tennisters swept De La Salle University, 5-0, to take the lead in the standings after the morning session. Steven Sonsona turned back EJ Geluz, 5-7, 6-3, 7-6, to complete the rout for UST.
On the other hand, the Blue Eagles took down University of the Philippines, 4-1, to set up the all-important UE-NU battle later in the evening. JJ Llavore and Stef Guarria secured the ninth win of Ateneo past Walther Luzon and Allen Rombawa, 6-1, 7-5.