University of Santo Tomas completed a 10-contest sweep in both the girls’ and boys’ divisions of the UAAP Season 86 High School Table Tennis tournaments, securing their respective Finals appearances on Wednesday at the Amoranto Sports Complex Arena in Quezon City.
The Junior Lady Paddlers, aiming for a back-to-back title, relied on J-An Sanchez’s performance to overcome De La Salle Zobel and University of the East in identical 3-1 victories.
The second-year upstart set the tone for the Junior Lady Paddlers by opening the day with a 7-11, 9-11, 14-12, 11-6, 11-4 comeback against Junior Lady Green Paddler Ma. Ana Gumobao. She then clinched the contest against the Junior Lady Warriors with an 11-8, 11-3, 7-11, 12-10 victory over Resala Balamal.
UE secured its place in the stepladder second round with an 8-2 win-loss record after defeating Adamson University earlier in the day in a 3-1 rout.
Balamal was the heroine of that victory over the Lady Baby Falcons, concluding the match and the tie with an 11-7, 11-6, 12-10 sweep of Angel Panao in the third singles match.
On the other hand, the Junior Tiger Paddlers, vying for their first title since Season 71, completed the elimination round sweep with identical 3-0 victories over UE and Adamson.
Anton Bayona collaborated with two different doubles partners to secure dominant 3-0 victories against the Junior Red Warriors and the Baby Falcons, earning them an outright Finals berth.
The 16-year-old Thomasian paired with last season’s Rookie of the Year, Jhiven Clamucha, in an 11-6, 11-5, 13-11 win against UE’s Gerussel Corpus and Mateo Fabro. Bayona then teamed up with Lawrence Melendrez to scrape past Adamson’s Leignhard Bartolo and Jhon Mongas, 8-11, 13-11, 15-13, 11-3.
Adamson, nonetheless, advanced to the second round of the ladder with an 8-2 record after a 3-0 sweep of defending champion De La Salle Zobel in the morning’s contest. Bartolo and Mongas completed the romp with an 11-2, 11-2, 11-3 clinic against Junior Green Paddlers Justine Felipe and Indigo Tolentino.
DLSZ will attempt to climb the ladder on the boys’ side against UE, while its girls’ squad will take on Adamson in the first round scheduled on Wednesday, November 22. Winners of the respective first rounds will face Adamson for boys and UE for girls later in the day.
Surviving teams from the stepladder will confront the unscathed UST teams in the Finals series on the following day, Thursday.