The De La Salle University Green Tennisters are off to a good start in the second round.
The Taft-based netters avenged their first round defeat to the Ateneo de Manila University Blue Eagles, 3-2, and took their second straight win, Sunday at Rizal Memorial Tennis Center.
It was not a dream start for the Green and White, however, as the Ateneo’s Ino Canlas and the tandem of Julian Dayrit and Anton Punzalan clinched the 2-0 lead for their side.
Canlas finished off LA Cañizares in straight sets, 6-4, 6-3, in the first singles match. On their part, Dayrit and Punzalan swept Qoqo Allian and Jonah Cano, 6-3, 6-2, in the first doubles match.
Marcen Gonzales also threatened to take the tie in the first three matches, after winning the first set of the second singles match at 6-3 against Betto Orendain. But the Green Archers had other plans.
Gelo Cerezo stayed sharp in his match against Vernon Huibonhua and took it in straight sets, 6-3, 6-4.
Concurrently, Orendain carved a two-set romp, albeit with strong challenge, to put La Salle level. The lanky sophomore got the next two frames, 6-4, 7-6, over Gonzales.
It boiled down to the second doubles match between the green side’s Kyle Parpan and Hans Asistio, and the blue squad’s Luke Flores and Erj Gatdula.
Ateneo raced to an early 5-2 lead, but were feeling the pressure from the opponents.
The fifth-year Parpan shared that he had told Asistio, “5-2 down, on serve kami, so we just have to keep that serve going.
“Tuluy-tuloy lang. Yung mga chances namin nakukuha kaagad. Tapos 5-all, serve ko, nabigyan kami ng confidence eh. Nabuhayan kami. Nagkaroon kami ng chances at luckily nakuha namin.”
Indeed, with the momentum on their side, the Green Archers turned it around and even took the hard-fought match on two tiebreaks to complete the rousing comeback and to take their fourth win of the season.
Parpan was shocked but very pleased on how Asistio showed up in this important win. “I have nothing but [praises]. I’m so happy. Lahat ng sacrifices namin, lalo na sa kanya, nag-paid off in this crucial match,” he said. “Lumabas eh. Nagulat ako. [But,] I’m happy for him.”
La Salle (4-2) will look to solidify their bid for a Finals slot as they face the University of Santo Tomas Male Tennisters (3-2) at 11:00am of Sunday, March 5.
Earlier at 8:00am, the Blue Eagles (2-4) will try to avoid a season sweep from the University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons (1-5).