UNIVERSITY of Santo Tomas sealed its claim as the best men’s table tennis team in UAAP history after winning a third straight title – and a record 25th overall – at the end of competitions on Thursday at the Blue Eagles gym.
The Growling Tigers made short work of La Salle, 3-0, and completed a two-game sweep of their best-of-three title showdown.
Graduating skipper Martin Diaz and Alberto Bazar led UST to the record title – the most in the 75th history of the league. The two were later adjudged season MVP and Rookie of the Year, respectively.
Meanwhile, National University was also impressive in running away with the title in the juniors division as it completed a perfect sweep of the tournament.
“Ibinigay ko `yung 100 percent sa training. Na-motivate ko `yung mga bata sa abot ng aking makakaya kasi nanggaling sila sa rough road,” said 31-year old UST coach Joseph Cruz, who took over from Henbert Ortalla last summer.
“Noong pumasok ako sinigurado ko lang mae-enjoy nila itong UAAP, na mailalabas nila ang laro nila, at `yun ang nangyari. Masayang-masaya ako.”
The Tigers lost only once in the tournament, a first-round setback to the Green Archers.
Far Eastern University, which lost to UST in the Final Four, finished in third place despite fielding an all-rookie lineup.
The Bullpups, meanwhile, completed an unbeaten season by dethroning University of the East, 3-0, in the Finals.
NU leaned on MVP Ryan Jacolo all-season long to win all its 14 matches, including a 12-game sweep of the eliminations.
“Nagbunga ang lahat ng paghihirap ng mga bata sa buong tournament,” said Bullpups mentor Judit Yulde.
Jomari Ingeniero of the Junior Warriors was named the season’s top rookie.