National University moved closer in completing a golden double as its men’s and women’s teams won their respective Finals openers Sunday in the UAAP Season 81 lawn tennis tournament at the Colegio de San Agustin courts in City of San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan.
The Bulldogs turned back the Ateneo Eagles, 3-1, while the Lady Bulldogs, starring former MVP Clarice Patrimonio, outlasted De La Salle, 3-2.
Tie No. 2 of the men’s and women’s Finals will be held today starting at 8 a.m. with NU out to put the finishing
touches on its comeback after skipping last year’s competitions.
The last time the Bulldogs had a championship double was in 2016.
Marcen Gonzales drew first blood for the Blue Eagles with a 6-3, 6-3 win over Wilson Oblea in the opening singles, before NU’s Rucel Cero and AJ Alejandre came back to win the first doubles over Bong Gonzales and Julian Dayrit, 3-6, 7-6, 6-3, to level the tie.
Allen Manlangit put NU ahead after Gab Tiamson retired in the deciding set of the second singles, 6-7, 6-2, 1-0, before the second doubles pair of Jeric Accion and Justin Prulla prevailed over Erj Gatdula and Luke Flores, 4-6, 7-5, 6-4, to clinch the tie.
Patrimonio survived Akiko de Guzman, 5-7, 6-3, 6-4, in the two-and-half-hour first singles match to put NU ahead, before De La Salle made it 1-1 as the first doubles pair of Jed Aquino and Arianne Nillasca won over Giza Antalan and Zam Dumlao, 6-2, 6-3.
Jzash Canja delivered the deciding singles point for the Lady Bulldogs with 6-4, 2-6, 6-2 victory over Aubrey Calma to cap an energy-zapping 12-hour women’s tie.
The Lady Archers, the elimination round topnotcher, tried to clinch the Finals opener, but the second doubles of Kiezel Diaz and Jenni Dizon lost to Mae Bornia and Alliah Raguinton, 3-6, 1-6.
Angel Santiago bucked a first set loss and fought off cramps to beat Annie Tumanda, 5-7, 6-4, 6-1, in the second singles to give the Lady Archers a 2-1 lead.