Tennis teams advance to finals

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De La Salle University tripped defending champion University of Santo Tomas, 3-2, to thwart the Tigers’ sweep bid and set a best-of-three title showdown in the UAAP Season 73 men’s tennis competitions yesterday at the Rizal Memorial Tennis Center.

The Green Archers leaned on the pair of Michael Basco and Alberto Lorenzo Villamor (second doubles match) and John Will Baldonado (third singles match) to post the win and prevent the Tigers from retaining the crown via an undefeated run.

DLSU and UST thus ended the two-round eliminations with identical 7-1 win-loss cards. They will start their title duel on Wednesday also at the Rizal Memorial Tennis Center with Game 2 slated on Feb. 19, and Game 3, if necessary, on Feb. 20.

DLSU’s Basco and Villamor hacked out a 6-0, 6-4 disposal of Arm Persivit Prociano and Bernardine Bering to make it a 2-2 tie, leaving Archer Baldonado and Tiger Bernan Lou Bering to decide the outcome of the showdown.

Bering jumped the gun on Baldonado in the decider, moving a set away from handing UST an 8-0 sweep and its second straight crown.

But refusing to give up, Baldonado waged a big fightback to thump Bering in the next two frames en route to 5-7, 6-1, 6-2 victory that spoiled UST’s party.

Rookie Ernesto Pantua provided the other win for DLSU, pulling off a hard-earned 4-6, 7-6 (6), 6-2 verdict over Kim Ivor Saraza in the first singles play.

The Thomasians got the Ws from June Ryan Montalbo and Gerard Cole Pinili, 6-4, 6-4 winner over Pemrik Jericho Alina and Ed Louise Amor in the first doubles, and Ralph Kevin Barte, 6-0, 6-0 victor over Juan Fidel Regis in the second singles.

In the other tie, Ateneo blanked University of the East, 5-0, to finish third overall with 4-4. The Red Warriors wound up deadlast with 0-8.

In the Women’s Division, La Salle defeated UP 3-2 as they advance to the finals with a twice-to-beat advantage against Ateneo on Wednesday.

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