After Joshua Cano and the University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons stalled their run a few minutes earlier, Josshua Kinaadman and the rest of the University of the East Red Warriors pounced on the struggling De La Salle University Green Netters, 4-1, to keep their season alive, Wednesday at the Rizal Memorial Tennis Center.
Aching to bounce back as soon as the tie started, Kinaadman showed no signs of fatigue and easily dealt with Qoqo Allian in the first set of the first singles match, 6-1. The last year’s Rookie of the Year used his few games earlier in the day as warm up to breeze past the La Salle third-year veteran. However, tiredness finally set in at the following frame as Allian also found his groove. It was a tit-for-tat affair in the second, before Kinaadman broke Allian’s serve in the middle of the frame to seal the match for UE.
Kinaadman’s victory set the tone for the Warriors for the rest of the day. In the second singles match, La Salle rookie Betto Orendain led early against Rodolfo Barquin Jr. in the first set. Barquin then mounted a comeback to force a tiebreak. Ultimately, Barquin won the long rallies and clinched the set in the shootout. The UE veteran then used this momentum in the following set and secured the Warriors’ second match win of the day at 6-3.
With just a match away from earning their third win of the season, the formidable doubles pairs of the Recto-based squad raced to whoever would clinch the tie for the team. In the end, super-senior Paulo Baran and rookie Jeric Delos Santos secured the tie win for UE with a 6-4 6-3 win over Hans Asistio and Dale Gorospe. Baran and Delos Santos took advantage of their breaks of the La Salle pair’s service to pull away with the victory.
The other doubles match was an even tighter affair as UE’s Rolly Saga and Rogelio Estaño Jr. outlasted Kyle Parpan and Jonah Cano in three sets, 6-3 1-6 6-1. The Warriors took the lead early in the first set, stayed strong, and, eventually, got it. Parpan and Cano, however, showed signs of life in the opening frame, and used these spells of good play to blow off Estaño and Saga in the following set. Nonetheless, UE imposed their overall court control in the deciding set to get their fourth of the day.
Jeleardo Amazona threatened to blank La Salle through his opponent LA Cañizares in the third singles match. The UE veteran pulled through in the opening set, 7-5, on solid serving. Cañizares then carved an escape act of his own in the following frame at a similar 7-5 score line to force a decider. As what happened throughout the match, the tussle continued in the final set and 12 games was not enough this time. In the end, Amazona secured the win in the tiebreak, 7-4, to emphatically seal the win for the Warriors.
The UE Red Warriors will attempt to stay alive in the season as they face the Goliaths, National University Bulldogs (7-0), on Saturday. Meanwhile, the DLSU Green Netters will face current second-placers UP Fighting Maroons earlier on that day.