It was a roller-coaster year for the De La Salle University Green Tennisters and their three graduating seniors: Kyle Parpan, Qoqo Allian, and LA Canizares.
Losses in the second round doomed the Taft-based squad before third-year standout Betto Orendain sent his squad to the victory over the University of Santo Tomas Male Tennisters, Sunday afternoon at the Rizal Memorial Tennis Center, en route to giving his seniors and the rest of the squad the third-place finish.
Parpan opened La Salle’s day with a good swan song in the first singles match. After ceding the first set to the top Thomasian singles player Dave Mosqueda at 4-6, the graduating captain got his groove and eventually closed the second set at 6-3. The La Sallian then used such momentum to pocket the match at an even more convincing 6-0 victory.
The other fifth-year standout Canizares also wrapped up a three-setter, fending off the versatile Christian Lopez in the second singles match to double the lead for the Green and White. The La Sallian and the Thomasian split the first two sets at 6-2 and 7-5, respectively, before the former finished the match with a 6-1 win.
Hans Asistio and Raphael Teng made a good account of themselves for La Salle, but Nico Lanzado and Bernlou Bering took one back for UST. The Tigers came up as winners after three gruelling sets at 6-3, 4-6, 6-1.
UAAP Season 78 Rookie of the Year Clarence Cabahug and captain Joel Suazo then leveled the match with a stunning sweep of Allian and Cano. The first set went UST”s way at 6-1, before the Thomasians scrape past the opponents and snagged the second and the match at 6-4.
While the tussle ensued in the second doubles match, Orendain was tending to his own battle with Jaffary Cariga on Court 1. The UST newbie had his moments, but the La Salle junior grabbed the first set at 6-2. Orendain then ultimately closed the match at and the tie at 6-3 as emotions filled the Center in celebration.
Orendain was not really expecting that the day would go the distance at first. “I thought my teammates would get the job done right away,” he admitted. “But, I kind of figured it out that it would go down the wire.”
The third-year stalwart just kept his composure and just played his game to eventually win it for himself and for his teammates, especially his seniors.
“For me, it was a very personal,” he commented on the mood going into this last day. “Ever since first year until now, I have been with them (seniors). They were like family. So I knew what is up for today.
“First, it was for the team, we need to get that first place. Second, to my seniors, because they are actually performing much better than anyone else in the team, so they deserve it,” he furthered.
The Green Tennisters end their season with anothe bronze finish at an even 4-4 record. On the other hand, the Tiger Tennisters (2-5) will look to close their campaign on a high note as they face the University of the Philippines (0-7) on Sunday at 12 noon.