After almost a decade in the UAAP, the University of the East are finally in the championship round.
The Red Warriors romped to their seventh win of the season after disposing of the Ateneo De Manila University Blue Eagles, 4-1, Wednesday at the Rizal Memorial Tennis Center.
Team captain Paulo Baran shared that after their unfortunate loss against the defending champions National University, they had been disappointed not to get the twice-to-beat advantage in the Finals.
“We were disappointed sa incident. Actually, sa buong team talaga. Tapos wala pa si coach Uno. So, we have to bounce back on our way to the top, to secure the appearance in the Finals,” the senior Red Warrior said. The team therefore made a promise to the coaches and the community that they would win the day’s assignment and reach the Finals.
And the Recto-based netters were true to their vow.
Rookie AJ Lim sent Ateneo senior Ino Canlas to the latter’s first loss, preserving his own streak, in a straight sets win, 6-2, 6-0. Josshua Kinaadaman also took another victory after dominating AJ Rivero, 6-1, 6-3.
Fittingly, seniors Baran and partner Rodolfo Barquin Jr. secured their team’s place in the last dance. The long-time Red and White standouts fended off Julian Dayrit and Anton Punzalan in their first set on a tiebreak before finishing off strong in the second, 6-1.
Rolly Saga and Rogelio Estaño Jr. closed out the rout, 6-2, 6-1, in the second doubles match against Erj Gatdula and Luke Flores.
Marcen Gonzales prevented a sweep, getting one over Jeric Delos Santos, 6-2, 6-0.
After fulfilling such vow, the feeling was just “overwhelming.” Baran continued, “For the first time, we have an appearance in the Finals. It’s a chance to get that trophy.”
The Finals-bound Red Warriors (7-1) will battle with a resurgent De La Salle University Green Tennisters (4-4) on Saturday, March 11 at 8am.
On the other hand, the Blue Eagles (3-5) will try to spoil the party as they take on the second-running University of Santo Tomas Male Tennisters (5-2) later that day at 11am.