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Tiebreaker Times


Lady Bulldogs sweep Lady Eagles to open title defense

The National University Lady Bulldogs know all too well that the targets on their backs are just getting bigger.

Bringing their A-game, the defending UAAP women’s tennis three-peat champions started their season strong, blanking the Ateneo de Manila University Lady Eagles, 5-0.

Jzash Canja opened up the flood gates with a dominant 6-0, 6-1 drubbing of Annika Mallari in the first singles match. Philippine Fed Cup campaigner and reigning Most Valuable Player Clarice Patrimonio also carved a similar win in the second singles against Rocio Climent.

Ateneo, however, threatened to snatch a match from the reigning champs as Jessica Agra and Jana Hernandez won the second set over Goldie Nagret and Zaza Paulino, 6-4. NU took the first at 6-2.

The Lady Eagles even took the 5-4 lead in the third set, but the Lady Bulldogs summoned championship experience to close out the match at 7-5.

Head coach Karl Santamaria pointed out that there is still work to be done, especially with Nagret and Paulino. He shared, “We can still play better, especially the first doubles. We can still improve on a few things, but they know what they can do, I know what they can do.”

The rest of the pack did not disappoint Santamaria’s confidence in their capabilities.

Ana Bienes and Junnelyn Polito also took care of last year’s Rookie of the Year Jana Pages and partner Nicole Amistad in the second doubles match at 6-0, 6-2.

Tin Patrimonio then shook of the challenge of Khrizelle Sampaton, 6-1, 6-4, in the third singles match to eventually complete the rout for NU.

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“Well, our team is a veteran-laden team,” Santamaria emphasized. “So there is not much to say. They know how to motivate themselves. They know their abilities. It is more of making the little adjustments, ‘pag di nila napapansin.”

Such adjustments will be put to the test when the face the 2-0 University of Santo Tomas Female Tennisters on Wednesday, February 22. On the other hand, the Lady Eagles (0-1) will take a break before facing the same team on the following Saturday, February 25.

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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