Defending UAAP Men’s Tennis champions University of the East Red Warriors flexed their muscles once more, waylaying the De La Salle Green Tennisters, 4-1, to move closer towards the twice-to-beat incentive in the Finals, Saturday morning at the Rizal Memorial Tennis Center.
It was a hot Saturday morning at the venue, at the reigning kings also waxed hot on the courts. Once again, the Red and White just need three matches to secure the win.
National standout and reigning Most Valuable Player AJ Lim made quick work of La Salle’s Betto Orendain to put the Recto-based squad on the board. The second-year Red Warrior hacked out a double bagel win over his opponent Orendain, who have yet to regain his consistent form after that injury he has incurred in the first round against the same team.
UAAP Season 77 Rookie of the Year Josshua Kinaadman then doubled that lead for his team for a more comfortable cushion. The fourth-year Cebuano was impressive in his two-set conquest of a strong opponent in LA Canizares at 6-2, 6-2.
Despite being sent to an 0-2 hole in the second set, team captain Rodolfo Barquin Jr. finished off Gelo Cerezo also in two sets at 6-0, 6-2.
The win kept UE’s unblemished record at 6-0, a thing Rogelio Estano Jr. and the rest of the team were pleased with. But, utimately, the goal is really an elimination round sweep.
“Pipilitin talaga naming makuha [‘yung sweep], para at least lamang na kami. Hindi na kami ‘yung kung sakaling masilat man, [pwede pa]. Pero hindi naman tayo papayag na matalo ng first tie, pero at least mabuti na ‘yung sigurado kais bilog ang bola,” he admitted.
Earlier, the fifth-year doubles standout and his partner RJ Saga kept their own unblemished record after taking down La Salle’s vaunted duo of Qoqo Allian and Jonah Cano at 6-2, 4-6, 7-6. Hans Asistio and captain Kyle Parpan prevented a sweep as they got one for La Salle at 5-7, 6-2, 6-3, over Jomar Medalla and Jeric Delos Santos.
The Red Warriors (6-0) will try to inch closer to that Finals bonus as they face the University of the Philippines (0-6) this Sunday. at 8am. Later that day at noon, the Green Tennisters (3-4) will attempt to close their eliminations on a high and lock that third-place finish when they battle the struggling University of Santo Tomas (2-4).