Ever since the men’s tennis program of National University started, they have always won against the University of the Philippines.
The defending champions continued their mastery of their two-time Finals rivals after completing a 4-1 rout, Sunday at the Rizal Memorial Tennis Center.
Second-year Macky Latorre shared that coach Karl Santamaria told them to approach the day’s assignment with a fresh outlook. “Unang-una, pinaliwanag sa ‘min na kalimutan na yung nakaraan, yung standing, kasi bagong team na ‘to eh.”
“Magtulungan kami. Bawat game dapat nag-i-improve kami.”
Such improvement was what Latorre and the rest of the Bulldogs showed in the tie against the Fighting Maroons.
Coach Santamaria was impressed of how Latorre and returning player Arc Dolorito stepped up in their win against Ateneo, and again the two delivered last Sunday.
Latorre outlasted UP’s own comeback kid Mikko Ringia in three sets, 4-6, 6-1, 7-5, in the first singles match. On his part, Dolirito took care of rookie Vincent Alanis in two 6-3 sets.
However, it was doubles pairs of the Bulldogs that sealed their second win.
Kiko Alcantara and Allen Manlangit dominated Auden Paduganan and Elijah Arevalo in straight sets, 6-2, 6-2, in the first doubles match. In the other two-man match, the new partnership of Jigo Peña and Justin Prulla pocketed their first win after shaking off Maroon giants Mimo Tomacruz and Gabriel Guttierez.
The new-look Bulldogs are getting motivation from themselves, said Latorre. “Wala na kaming aasahan kundi yung sarili namin. Yung last year, wala na yun. Kaya talagang gagapang kami.”
“Masaya na naitatawid namin yung games,” he continued, referring to their 2-2 win-loss record. “Minsan mahirap kasi may mga nakakalabang malakas, pero gawin lang namin yung sinasabi ni coach.”
Third-year Joshua Cano saved the Seasons 76 and 78 runners-up after outhustling AJ Alejandre, 6-4, 6-4 in the second singles match.
The Bulldogs will continue their abandoned tie against the De La Salle University Green Tennisters (1-3) on Wednesday, March 1.
On the other hand the Fighting Maroons (1-3) will try to close out their first round with a win when they battle in their postponed tie against the University of Santo Tomas Male Tennisters (2-2) later that day.