The mean green machines from Taft are back in the elite circle of UAAP men’s tennis.
After suffering a winless campaign last season, the De La Salle University Green Tennisters made a huge bounce back year, securing a third-place finish after edging out the University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons, 3-2, Sunday at the Rizal Memorial Tennis Center.
Sophomore Betto Orendain, who has epitomized La Salle’s road to redemption, fought hard to sweep Kyle Joseph in the first singles match at 6-2, 6-1. Fourth-year stalwart Kyle Parpan also carved a similar score line to finish off rookie Joel Atienza, putting the Archers on top at 2-0.
Needing to sweep the rest of the matches to end the season on a high note, the Maroons duo of Mimo Tomacruz and Elijah Arevalo started the comeback attempt.
The young UP upstarts continued their impressive run after sweeping Hans Asistio and Jonah Cano in two tight 6-4 sets to put the Diliman-based side on the scoreboard.
This happened as their senior Joshua Cano took the first set over LA Cañizares at 7-5.
Graduating Gabriel Gutierrez and Vincent Alanis tried to keep in step with Dale Gorospe and Qoqo Allian, but the latter edged them out in the opening frame at 6-4.
Cañizares clobbered a tentative Joshua Cano in the second set at 6-1, even as the Maroons took the initiative at 5-3 in the second set of the second doubles match.
Eventually, Gorospe and Allian closed out their match, winning the last four games to send DLSU to a podium finish.
Joshua Cano then bucked cramps in the middle of the third set to get another win for himself and wrap the season for the last season’s runners-up on a fighting note.
With the win and with their sweep of the National University Bulldogs, the Green Tennisters have even 5-5 record, which is good for third place. The Fighting Maroons finished at 1-9 in sixth place.