NU upsets defending champion UST in men’s tennis
MANILA, Philippines—National University continued to pull off surprises in several fronts with the Bulldogs stunning the defending champion University of Santo Tomas Tigers, 3-2, at the start of the UAAP men’s tennis competition Saturday at the Rizal Memorial Tennis Center.
The NU duo of Leander Lazaro and Tim Polero outlasted UST’s Jake Basilad and Bernardine Bering, 6-1, 7-5, in the deciding doubles to wrap up the Bulldogs’ strong debut.
Coach Karl Santamaria mentored the Bulldogs, who fielded their first tennis team after calling the shots for the powerhouse Tigers for 10 years.
UST’s Ralph Barte, last season’s MVP, blanked NU’s Al Khady Jainul, 6-0, 6-0, to kick off the Tigers’ bid for a third straight crown. But the Bulldogs leveled it with Al Michael Madrid and Dheo Talatayod downing Gerald Pinili and Ryan Montalbo, 6-3, 6-2, in the first doubles match.
Bernan Lou Bering got the Tigers back up by posting a 6-3, 5-1 (ret.) triumph over Wilson Oblea in the second singles, before the Bulldogs came back again with Fritz Verdad tripping Arn Procianos, 6-1, 7-5.
NU, which overhauled its sports program with the chief backing of tycoon Hans Sy, stunned the league favorites when the Bullpups captured the juniors basketball crown last October. A perennial cellar-dweller in most sports, the Bulldogs also surprisingly nailed a runner-up finish in men’s badminton last September.
The Bulldogs last captured a seniors division championship in 1986 through their men’s chess team.
In other matches, University of the Philippines drubbed Ateneo, 4-1, with Franklin Encarnacion, Joshua Miranda and Angelo Esguerra delivering the wins in singles and Leandro Fernandez and Miguel Belda in doubles.
In women’s action, La Salle kicks off its bid for a third straight title against UST with last season’s MVP Reggie Santiago at 12 noon.
Women’s volleyball action also resumes with reigning champion La Salle clashing with UST in a rematch of last season’s finals at 3:30 p.m. at the FilOil-Flying V Arena in San Juan.
UP and University of the East tangle in the other match at 2 p.m., after the men’s duel featuring NU against UE at 9 a.m. and UST versus Far Eastern University at 10:30 a.m.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.