UNIVERSITY of the Philippines secured at least a playoff for the other Finals berth in the UAAP Season 85 Women’s Tennis tournament after a 3-2 decision over erstwhile unbeaten National University, Saturday at the Felicisimo Ampon Tennis Center in Malate, Manila.
The Fighting Maroons moved to a 5-2 win-loss record, just a win behind the Finals-bound Lady Bulldogs who are at 6-1.
The gamble of putting Joshea Malazarte in the second singles match paid huge dividends for UP coach Franklin Encarnacion as the triple National Intercollegiate champion completed the stunner with a 7-5, 4-6, 6-3 outlasting of Elizabeth Abarquez.
Rachel Velez set the tone with a huge 6-1, 6-2 win over Jessica Carcueva in the first singles rubber before Anica Cari and JM Prado set up the Malazarte heroics with a 7-6, 6-1 victory over Rovie Baulete and Angela Cabaral in first doubles.
Seniors Alyssa Bornia and Alliah Ragunton put the Bulldogs on the board, 6-2, 6-2 past Bianca Pica and Jesha Cervantes. NU’s Danna Abad then took care of Sydney Enriquez, 6-3, 6-2 to close the day with a win for the reigning champions.
University of Santo Tomas, on their part, took one step as well in reviving its Finals hopes after taking down also-ran De La Salle University, 4-1. Patricia Lim secured the tie for her squad with a 4-6, 6-2, 6-2 win past Aubrey Calma in the second singles match.
The Tennisters moved to third place with a 4-3 win-loss record and will look to force a playoff against the Fighting Maroons with a win in their last encounter in the elimination rounds on Sunday.
On the men’s side, University of the East snagged the solo lead with a 9-2 card with a 3-2 decision past Ateneo de Manila University. Norman Gaspar pulled through in the deciding singles match against Diego Dayrit, 6-7, 6-0, 6-0.
The win put the Red Warriors a step closer to one of the twice-to-beat advantages in the Final Four after National University stunned University of Santo Tomas, 4-1. Rucel Cero and Jude Ceniza took care of Geo Serino and Steven Sonsona to spoil the return of UST’s Nilo Ledama, 7-6, 7-5.
Ledama needed to turn back Jules Lazaro in his first match after suffering a left leg injury on Wednesday, taking the Tennisters’ lone win at 6-4, 1-6, 6-1.
UP took the other win of the day with a 4-1 rout of Adamson University, going up to a 4-7 win-loss record. Walther Luzon and Allen Rombawa closed the tie with a three-set victory past Jerald Delos Santos and Adrian Encinares, 7-5, 4-6, 6-1.