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UAAP 86 Table Tennis: La Salle, Ateneo face off in women’s finals


De La Salle University ensured that its title defense of the UAAP Women’s Table Tennis crown would proceed as planned, securing a 3-1 victory against the lone team that handed them a loss this season.

Jannah Romero sealed the deal, leading the Lady Green Paddlers to victory over last year’s Finals rivals University of Santo Tomas Lady Paddlers in the third singles match against Kaye Encarnacion.

Romero triumphed in five grueling sets, 11-4, 11-7, 9-11, 6-11, propelling her team into the Finals held at the Amoranto Sports Complex Arena in Quezon City on Wednesday.

The third-year standout’s performance kept the three-peat bid alive for the Green and White, as UST had forced a traditional Final Four after defeating De La Salle 3-2 in the first round on November 10.

“Parang mas na-challenge kami (after that loss), parang naging mas OK pa nga na natalo kami, kasi mas lalo kaming nag-push para manalo,” commented the national team pool upstart.

“Going into the Finals, ganun lang uli: back to zero. Isipin namin na wala kaming wins para kung ano ‘yung ginawa namin nung first day, ganun uli ‘yung lumabas sa Finals,” added Romero.

Rein Teodoro had earlier set De La Salle on the path to victory by winning the crucial opening singles match 12-10, 11-8, 11-4 against Corrine Cartera. Following this, last year’s Rookie of the Year Angel Laude dominated Jane De La Cruz 11-5, 11-5, 11-6, extending the lead to two matches.

The Lady Paddlers secured one victory with Ciara Derecho and Kathlyn Gabisay defeating Mariana Caoile and Shyrein Redoquero 11-6, 11-9, 13-11 in the lone doubles match. However, UST could not manage more, and Romero ultimately sealed the win for De La Salle.

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De La Salle is now set to face Season 82 runner-up Ateneo de Manila University in the Finals. The Blue Eagles dismantled the twice-to-beat advantage of second-seeded Far Eastern University in the other Final Four pairing.

The Finals between the two rivals are scheduled for Thursday at the same Diliman venue, starting at 9 a.m.

Additionally, the duo of Kaela Aguilar and Therese Docto completed the squad’s return to the Finals with a five-set comeback against Lady Tamaraws’ Glieza Ampalid and Miriam Martinez, securing a 6-11, 8-11, 11-9, 11-6, 11-9 victory.UAAP-86-TT-BOYS-Sean-Arvin-Garcia-2 UAAP 86 Table Tennis: La Salle, Ateneo face off in women's finals ADMU AdU DLSU FEU News Table Tennis UAAP UST  - philippine sports news

On the men’s side, Andree Garcia propelled Ateneo into a second straight Finals duel with UST after completing a 3-1 victory over Adamson University.

The rookie out of Sacred Heart School managed his nerves and secured the victory against Amiel Aroma in a see-saw battle that went five games, 11-9, 9-11, 11-7, 9-11, 11-4, in the third singles match.

“Hindi ko inisip ‘yung pressure kasi sa totoo lang underdog ako dito. Hindi ako gano’ng kakilala. Kaya nilaro ko lang ‘yung best ko,” Garcia said. “Excited na ko and since going for a four-peat sila, mas sa kanina dapat ‘yung pressure at wala sa ‘min.”

Adamson initially took the lead with Jed Villaviray cruising past Andrew Uy 12-10, 11-6, 11-4.

However, Ateneo eventually won the next three matches, with Wrency Abad and Francis De Asis grabbing the lone doubles rubber 11-6, 9-11, 11-2, 11-3, over Jhon Balucos and Aldrean Gacho to set up Garcia’s heroics.

The Soaring Falcons had earlier swept the De La Salle Green Paddlers 3-0 to set up the showdown with the Blue Eagles. Balucos and Gacho completed the rout with a 16-14, 5-11, 5-11, 11-7, 12-10 conquest of Green Paddlers LJ Crisostomo and Marwin Eder.

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Adamson and FEU received bronze trophies for their third-place finishes in the men’s and women’s divisions, respectively.

The rematch of the Men’s Finals between UST and Ateneo is set for Thursday in the same arena, also beginning at 9 a.m.

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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