THE UST table tennis teams barged into the UAAP finals after trouncing the University of the East and the Far Eastern University at the UP College of Human Kinetics gym in Diliman Sunday.
The men’s team will defend its title against second-seeded National University, while the Lady Paddlers look to avenge last year’s loss against rival De La Salle University on Monday.
The Tigers Paddlers trounced UE, 3-2, for their third-straight finals appearance.
With the game tied at 2-all, Shen Tunay’s late-game heroics saved UST anew after surviving Warrior Justin Pacaña in a nail-biting 11-6, 11-13, 5-11, 11-6, 11-9 clincher.
“Everybody’s saying na UST talaga ang pinakamalakas but I always tell the players na dapat hindi tayo makumpyansa pero [dapat] tuluy-tuloy lang [ang laban]. [We need to] be humble and stay grounded,” UST men’s team coach Jackson Que told the Varsitarian.
The Lady Paddlers got the better of FEU, 3-2, securing a spot in the finals.
Tamaraw Reigan Gabutin forced a decider after escaping UST’s Keith Millana, 6-11, 6-11, 11-4, 11-9, 11-7.
But Kat Tempiatura carried the Lady Paddlers to victory after sweeping Irish Escubido, 11-8, 13-11, 11-9.
“Anticipated ko naman na lamang kami kaya lang na-pressure sila. Sinabi ko lang sa kanila na ‘wag maging overconfindent at magtiwala lang sa sarili. Most of all, dapat matuto silang mag-control ng emosyon nila,” Lady Paddlers coach Lori Wadjad said.