NATIONAL University completed a sweep of its 10 elimination round assignments in the UAAP Season 75 men’s tennis tournament after thumping University of Santo Tomas, 5-0, on Sunday at the Rizal Memorial Tennis Center.
The Bulldogs will have a twice-to-beat advantage against the Growling Tigers (8-2) in the championship round on Friday.
Fritz Verdad capped the Bulldogs domination of the Tigers in men’s play with a 6-3, 6-3 win over Arn Procianos in the third singles.
Leander Lazaro set the tone for NU’s win by drubbing Bernanlou Baring, 6-1, 6-0, in the opening singles, before Dheo Talatayod and Al Michael Madrio beat RK Barte and Ryan Montalbo, 6-4, 6-1, in the first doubles.
Jigo Peña and Tim Polero overcame Francis Patino and Joel Cabusas, 6-3, 3-6, 6-2, in the second doubles, while Jainul Al Khady turned back Randy Delavin, 6-1, 3-6, 6-1.
Meanwhile, the Lady Bulldogs stunned defending champion UST, 3-2, to delay the Tigresses’ entry to the Finals.
The Lady Bulldogs weathered the Tigresses’ rally to post only their second win in seven outings.
Ana Bienes and Goldie Nagret nipped reigning MVP Macy Gonzales and April Santos, 6-7, 6-1, 6-3, in the deciding doubles.
NU took the first two matches, with Hanna Espinosa defeating Zaza Paulino, 5-7, 6-0, 6-4, in the opening singles and Kim Uytico and Junnalyn Polito beating Diane Bautista and Jhie Helar, 6-3, 6-1, in the first doubles.
UST came up with wins in the next singles as Len-len Santos whipped Eren Penados, 6-3, 6-1, and Lenelyn Milo scored a 6-1, 6-3 winner over Aziel Manantan, 6-1, 6-3.
Despite their third loss in eight outings, the Tigresses are assured of a playoff for the No. 2 spot.
UST will advance to the championship round if La Salle, which is unbeaten in seven starts, beats University of the Philippines at the close of eliminations on Wednesday.
At the Rizal Memorial Baseball Stadium, NU arranged a softball championship showdown with reigning two-time titlist Adamson by nipping UST, 5-3, in their stepladder semis match.
Clarifer Singh and Arianne Vallestero delivered the key runs for the Lady Bulldogs in the seventh inning, while pitcher Rutche Tañola sealed the deal by shutting down the Tigresses late in the game.
NU battles a powerhouse Adamson squad boasting of players from last year’s Softball World Series champion team in Kalamazoo, Michigan, starting on Wednesday at 9 a.m.
“Kaya nang sumabay sa UAAP teams ang mga players ko. Mga rookie lahat sila,” said NU coach Saki Bacarisas.
“Ang Adamson nandiyan na sila nauna na yan, pero nothing to lose kami diyan. Mabigat yan, pero kaya naming sabayan,” he added.
“Basta mag-enjoy lang ang mga bata. Malay natin, as long as we play good defense and good offense, iyon ang importante at nasa amin ang momentum.”
The Lady Falcons, who are unbeaten in 32 games since the 2010-11 season, are gunning for their third straight crown.