Ateneo de Manila University and University of Santo Tomas booked their respective places in the men’s and women’s finals of the UAAP Season 85 Table Tennis Tournament after bringing down separate foes in the semifinals, Friday at the Makati Coliseum.
The doubles tandem of Zherdel Fresco and Andrew Uy brought down Adamson University’s Jhon Balucos and John Lagorra in three games, 11-5, 11-7, 11-6, to send the Blue Eagles into the school’s first-ever UAAP Finals appearance in the sport.
Rookie Mahendra Cabrido opened the day for Ateneo with a sweep of Paolo Monforte, 11-5, 11-5, 11-8, in the first singles match before Andrew Uy gave his squad a 2-0 lead with an 8-11, 11-7, 11-4, 7-11, 11-4 marathon against Jed Villaviray.
The Soaring Falcons earlier denied tournament host De La Salle University a semifinals berth, taking a huge 3-2 come-from-behind win in their stepladder first-round meeting.
Warren Polido swept Christian LJ Crisostomo, 11-7, 11-9, 11-4, to give Adamson eventually a place on the podium in third place.
UST’s Kathlyn Gabisay and Ciara Derecho took down Ana Calvo and Kathleene Bulaquena, 11-7, 11-8, 5-11, 10-12, 11-9 in the doubles rubber, before Season 82 Rookie of the Year Kaela Aguilar saved Ateneo’s season with a huge 11-6, 11-5, 11-6 win over Trystal Cagande to knot the tie at two matches apiece.
Corrine Cartera then dominated Ma. Elira Docto in the first two games of the deciding single match at 11-4, 11-6, before outlasting the Blue Eagle in the third game at 15-13, to hand UST a crack at defending its title.
The Lady Paddlers earlier took down rivals Far Eastern University in the first round at 3-1 with Derecho getting the tie-clinching win, 11-4, 8-11, 11-5, 11-7, against Aizel Rom to move up the ladder against Ateneo.
On the other hand, University of the East’s boys’ team leaned on the fight from John Zyrell Galang to give the school its first podium finish of the season.
The rookie took down Adamson’s Reinniel Badillo in a marathon 11-6, 6-11, 5-11, 11-8, 14-12 win in another decider after the two schools went level at two matches apiece after the first four.
The best-of-three finals series between UST and Ateneo in the men’s division, La Salle and UST in the women’s category, and De La Salle Zobel and UST in both the boys’ and girls’ sides are set on Saturday starting at 8 a.m.