MANILA – University of Santo Tomas claimed its fourth consecutive title after beating Ateneo de Manila University, 2-0, in the men's division of the UAAP Season 86 table tennis tournament at the Amoranto Sports Complex Arena in Quezon City on Thursday.
"Masayang-masaya tayo and with this four-peat, we've just proven na talagang matibay 'yung team natin and all throughout hindi tayo sumuko (We are very happy and with this four-peat, we've just proven that our team is really strong and all throughout we didn't give up)," head coach Jackson Que said after the Tiger Paddlers registered their 30th straight win dating back to the second tie of the Season 82 Finals in 2019.
"'Yung team remained grounded all throughout, 'yun naman 'yung pinapaalala ko lagi sa team. kasi everything starts from zero parati. (The team remained grounded all throughout, that's what I always remind the team because everything always starts from zero)," he added.
Ruiz Marcelino and Abraham Antivo IV played the heroics for UST when they survived Wrency Abad and Francis De Asis, 8-11, 11-9, 5-11, 11-6, 11-6. They had earlier won the first tie, 14-12, 11-5, 11-3.
"Ang maganda sa nangyari kanina, kahit nalamangan kami o naunahan kami, hindi kami nagpadala at hindi kami nawalan ng focus. Inisip lang namin na kailangan naming manalo para makuha na 'yong championship (The good thing about what happened earlier, even though we were behind or ahead of us, we were not affected, and we didn't lose focus. We just thought we had to win to get the championship)," the sophomore Marcelino said.
Alvin Sevilla defeated Andree Garcia, 11-3, 11-3, 13-11, while John Michael Castro outplayed Andrew Uy, 4-11, 13-11, 9-11, 11-5, 11-3, to give the Tiger Paddlers a 2-0 lead.
Meanwhile, UST won the boys’ title over Adamson University and later annexed the girls’ crown after sweeping University of the East.
"I'm so happy na nakuha nila 'yung championships. Kahit na 'yung girls naging mas consistent even if lima lang talaga 'yung solid sa kanila. Nakuha naman sa training kaya ayan, nakapag-champion (I'm so happy that they got the championships. Even the girls became more consistent even if only five of them really played solid games. Because of training, we were able to become a champion)," UST coach Lorinda Wadjad said.
J-An Sanchez bagged the MVP plum after leading the girls team to their fourth title. The Rookie of the Year honors were awarded to Olympia Ducanes (University of the Philippines Integrated School) and Troy Rodriguez (De La Salle Zobel School).
The women's title went to De La Salle University, which conquered Ateneo. Sophomore Cielo Bernaldez pulled off an 11-4, 12-10, 8-11, 13-11 victory over Rookie of the Year Jelaine Monteclaro to wrap up the match.
"Itong championship kumbaga si God na ang naging bahala kung destiny namin na mag-champion, pero nakita niyo naman mahirap ang pinagdaanan namin. 'Yung Ateneo team binigay din nila 'yung pinaka-100 percent nila, kaya happy ako na 'yung players ko binigay rin 'yung best nila kanina (This championship seems like God took care of our destiny to be champions, but you saw what we went through was difficult. The Ateneo team also gave their 100 percent, so I'm happy that my players also gave their best earlier)," La Salle coach Lauro Crisostomo.
"Sobrang happy ako sa lahat ng binigay ni Cielo itong laro na 'to. Sa ibang tournaments, hindi siya nananalo (kay Monteclaro), kaya masaya ako na nakuha niya ito ngayon (I am very happy with everything that Cielo gave in this game. In other tournaments, she doesn't win (against Monteclaro), so I'm happy that he got it now," he added. (PNA)