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UAAP 86 Table Tennis: UST denies Ateneo’s upset bid, scores 30th men’s title


UNIVERSITY of Santo Tomas annexed a record 30th championship in convincing fashion, sweeping Ateneo, 2-0, in the UAAP Season 86 men’s table tennis Finals Thursday at the Amoranto Sports Complex Arena in Quezon City.

It was the Tiger Paddlers’ 30th straight win dating back to the second tie of the Season 82 Finals in 2019.

“Masayang-masaya tayo and with this four-peat, we’ve just proven na talagang matibay ‘yung team natin and all throughout hindi tayo sumuko,” long-time UST head coach Jackscon Que said. “‘Yung team remained grounded all throughout, ‘yun namin ‘yung pinapaalala ko lagi sa team. kasi everything starts from zero parati.

That never-surrender attitude was evident in how Ruiz Marcelino and Abraham Antivo IV turned it around to take the eventual fourth straight championship for the Tiger Paddlers.

Down two games to one, the sophomore-rookie pair took the next two games over Blue Eagles, ending with a well-placed attack that would not be returned, 8-11, 11-9, 5-11, 11-6, 11-6.

“Ang maganda sa nangyari kanina, kahit nalamangan kami o naunahan kami, hindi kami nagpadala at hindi kami nawalang ng focus. Inisip lang namin na kailangan naming manalo para makuha na ‘yong championship,” the second-year Marcelino said.

Seniors Alvin Sevilla and John Michael Castro put UST in a comfortable 2-0 advantage in the title-clinching tie after respective victories against consequent top rookie for the season, Andree Garcia, and Andrew Uy in the two singles rubbers.

The reigning MVP Sevilla needed to fend off the Ateneo rookie Garcia in the third game, but eventually pulled off the sweep, 11-3, 11-3, 13-11, before this year’s MVP Castro needed to go the distance to take care of Uy, 4-11, 13-11, 9-11, 11-5, 11-3.

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Antivo and Marcelino earlier clinched the first-tie win in the series against Wrency Abad and Francis De Asis, 14-12, 11-5, 11-3, to set up their heroics later in the day.

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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