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Warriors conquer Golden Netters in gripping battle

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In a battle for vengeance, the University of the East Red Warriors upended the University of Santo Tomas, 3-2, to tie their victims at a 1-1 win-loss record, Sunday at the Rizal Memorial Tennis Center.

Last year’s Rookie of the Year Josshua Kinaadman of UE emerged victorious from the sophomores’ tussle, defeating Nico Lanzado in straight sets, 7-5 6-2. Kinaadman romped to a 5-1 lead in the first, only for Lanzado to mount a comeback and level the set. The Red Warrior, nevertheless, finished off the set with clutch returns and winners. From there, Kinaadman never looked back, as Lanzado had to contend with two breaks of the former’s serve in the closing set.

In the second singles match, UE rookie Jeric Delos Santos stunned UST skipper Joel Cabusas, 7-6 6-1. Delos Santos and Cabusas went neck-to-neck in the first set, after the veteran attempted a comeback from a 0-3 deficit. The newbie threatened to snatch the first frame, but Cabusas ground out well-placed returns to send the set into a tiebreak. Delos Santos became more aggressive in the tiebreak and, consequently, in the second frame, as his net approaches made it 2-0 for the Warriors in the tie.

UST would not be denied their own victories, however, as the Golden Netters snared the first doubles match and the third singles match. Francis Patiño and Mart Cabahug dispatched Rolly Saga and Rogelio Estaño Jr. in the outing, 7-6 6-1. The Tigers showed a lot of fight in the first set to force it into a tiebreak. After trailing the early part of the frame at 0-3, UST survived the net exchanges to ensure the tiebreak. The same story continued in the second set, and the Patiño and Cabahug clinched the match.

It was another rookie’s turn, this time for UST, to get something for his team. Dave Mosqueda shook off the challenge of UE veteran Rodolfo Barquin Jr., in an easy 6-2 6-2 drubbing. The Thomasian displayed clinical service and court control to deny Barquin any chance in the match. Mosqueda unleashed his powerful returns and passing shots to fend off some momentum from Barquin.

However, the day belonged to the Red Warriors, especially to super-senior Paulo Baran and Jeleardo Amazona, after they clinched the second doubles match. Bernlu Bering and rookie Christian Lopez took care of Baran and Amazona easily in the first set, 6-3, as errors from the latter pair proved costly in the frame. The Recto-based tandem then slowly got their bearings, as they finally got court control and ended the long rallies in their favor. Despite the threat from UST, Baran and Amazona cruised in the second set tiebreak to level the match. The Warriors then used all their confidence to get the deciding frame and the tie, 6-1.

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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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