Heavily-favored University of Santo Tomas needed to fend off first-time finalist Ateneo in two grueling ties to bag their 13th UAAP Women’s Table Tennis title, Wednesday at the Blue Eagle Gym.
“Masaya kasi ang pinaka-aim ng UST is mag-champion both men’s and women’s. And the women’s they did not let it go; fight pa rin sila kahit lamang na yung kalaban,” said head coach Lorinda Wadjad.
And they needed to dig deep to outlast the Lady Eagles.
Tigress Paddler Danica Alburo turned back two match points from Lady Eagle Kathleene Bulaquena to eventually took the win for UST at 14-12 in the fifth set of the deciding singles match at the afternoon’s tie.
Ateneo earlier threatened to extend the series as eventual-Rookie of the Year Kaela Aguilar and fellow newbie Ann Borbon put their squad up 2-0. Aguilar outlasted Sherlyn Gabisay in five sets, while Borbon edged out Ciara Derecho in four.
Nonetheless, Leigh Villanueva and Emery Digamon pulled through for the Tigresses in the doubles match at 12-10, 11-7, 5-11, 11-8, and set up the stage for a comeback for Shaeena Ronquillo and Alburo.
Ronquillo earlier denied Bulaquena in the morning’s deciding singles match at 11-9 in the fifth game to take the 1-0 series lead for UST.
With her wins and more importantly her leadership, sophomore team captain Gabisay bagged the Most Valuable Player award.
“Pinag-aralan namin yung lineup na we could not just assign anybody [in order] to beat Ateneo,” shared Wadjad about the clashes they had with Ateneo.