Showing what they were capable of against the league-leading University of Santo Tomas Female Tennisters during their last outing, the De La Salle University Lady Green Tennisters brought down the hammer against their Finals-seeking archrivals.
The Taft-based squad earlier derailed the Ateneo de Manila University Lady Eagles, 3-2, as Rachelle de Guzman sent the former to their first win of the season, Sunday at the Rizal Memorial Tennis Center.
Jed Aquino opened the day for the Green and White with a huge denial of Ateneo rookie Carmen So in two sets in the second singles match. The third-year La Sallian had to scrape past her opponent in the first frame at 7-5, but used the momentum in the second set to comfortably bag it at 6-3.
The ladies from La Salle made it 2-0 after Nikki Arandia and Jenni Dizon took down Annika Mallari and Jana Pages in the first doubles match. After a rout in the first set in favor of the Lady Tennisters at 6-1, the latter sent the second set into a tussle. Nonetheless, DLSU seniors closed it out at the tiebreak.
Kylla Orillosa took the first set of the first singles match in favor of La Salle at 6-2, but the gassed out in the next two sets. The result was an overwhelming win for the other Ateneo newbie Martina Bautista at 6-4, 6-2, to pu Ateneo on board after two hours and 45 minutes.
Just a few moments after captain Jana Hernandez and Nicole Amistad completed a double-bagel win over Kiana Gacias and Annika Silangcruz to level the tie for the Ateneo. Excellent court sense and net plays sent the contest to a deciding singles match.
De Guzman and Khrizelle Sampaton knew each other from national team training as they are even partners in the pool. However, the former proved her billing as a strong singles player after dominating the first set at 6-2.
Nonetheless, such familiarity of De Guzman’s game and the La Sallian’s tentativeness in the second set became the fifth-year Atenean’s vehicle to snag the second set at 7-5 much to the delight of the Ateneo crowd in attendance.
Perhaps buoyed by her own team’s and the La Salle faithfuls’ cheers, and her regaining composure, the fourth-year La Salle standout De Guzman eventually closed the match at a dominant 6-0 win to seal her team’s first victory of the season.
“Masaya siyempre,” the senior Lady Green Tennister commented on the win. “Gusto ko namang matapos ‘yung UAAP ko na panalo. I-enjoy lang namin ‘to, tapos next week panibagong game naman.
“Hopefully next game manalo ulit kami,” she added.
With the results of the afternoon tie between the University of Santo Tomas and the University of the Philippines, with the former winning, the Lady Eagles, nonetheless, clinched their first-ever Finals appearance.
The Lady Green Tennisters (1-4) will face the Fighting Maroons (1-4) in a virtual battle for third place on Sunday at 12 noon. Earlier that day, the finalists Ateneo (3-2) and UST (5-0) will take on each other at 8 am with the latter gunning for the twice-to-beat advantage.