Entering the courts to settle their dispute, long-time tennis rivals UST Lady Tennisters and DLSU Lady Tennisters stepped it up, delivering sneaky returns and powerful smashes as they were both out to get each other.
Sadly for the Taft-based squad, their UST counterparts came out on top after an epic tie filled with surprises and close calls. The game ended in what both DLSU and UST coaches described as an extremely tense but brilliant match, with the final score of 3-2 in favor of UST.
UST was first to draw blood as the duo of Shymae Gitalan and Genevieve Caorte were quick to dispatch DLSU’s Jenni Dizon and Janina Luis 6-0, 6-1 to end the first doubles matchup. UST maintained their win, as an unlucky draw for DLSU paired Nikki Arandia against UST’s golden girl Macy Gonzales who won over the former 6-1, 6-0. Despite the one-sided defeat of Arandia- usually a doubles player- she put up a good fight as she effectively held her ground during the match.
The Tigers’ winning streak was cut short at the hands of DLSU’s Rachelle de Guzman. According to UST coach Dennis Sta. Cruz, De Guzman is DLSU’s second best player, and she claimed DLSU’s first victory of the day. At the start of the match, De Guzman ran into problems against UST’s Lenelyn Milo, who was surprisingly fielded as a singles competitor due to Coach Sta. Cruz’s gamble. She eventually found her rhythm and triumphed over Milo 4-6, 0-6. Her victory was soon followed by DLSU’s best player Marinel Rudas who, despite experiencing a similar hiccup in the first set that resulted in a deficit, steamed past her assignment, Kendies Malinis, through her swift returns that proved to be difficult to receive, 3-6, 1-6.
With an even number of victories and defeats, both the DLSU Lady Tennisters and UST Lady Tennisters were forced to engage in a tiebreaker match with Princess Castillo and Lynette Palasan representing DLSU, and the April Santos-Danica Bautista tandem for UST.
Initially thought to be a one-sided match, the duo of Palasan and Castillo shocked both their opponents and their teammates, as they made haste and expertly breezed their way to an easy 3-0 lead. On the other hand, Santos and Bautista, who were clearly seen to be stunned by the sudden deficit, quickly regained their momentum after numerous reminders from their coach that they should anticipate the undying passion displayed by duo of Palasan and Castillo. They eventually won the deciding match after the hard-fought and deuce-filled matches, 6-4, 6-2.
Despite the heartbreaking loss, Coach Taddy Cruz of the DLSU Lady Tennisters mentioned that it has always been enjoyable clashing against their long-time tennis rivals regardless of the outcome. He further stated that although he wished it was them advancing to the finals, he still wishes the UST squad all the best in their matchup against incumbent champion National University.
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