THE UST table tennis teams lost steam and settled for silver in the UAAP Season 80 table tennis tournament at the UP College of Human Kinetics gym in Diliman Monday.
The defending champions Tiger Paddlers yielded to the National University in a do-or-die Game 3, 1-3.
UST trailed, 1-2, before Bulldog CJ Carrasco pummeled Tiger Paddler Nico Nayre, 8-11, 11-7, 10-12, 11-4, 11-9, to seal the championship for NU.
Earlier, NU drew first blood against UST, 3-2, before the Tiger Paddlers forced a decider, 3-2.
With the game tied at 2-2, team captain Paul Que handily defeated Carrasco to take Game 2, 11-5, 11-6, 11-6.
“Actually tiwala pa rin ako kay Nayre na tatalunin niya ‘yung kalaban kasi lamang na lamang tayo doon. Siguro hindi lang talaga para sa atin this season,” UST men’s team head coach Jackson Que told the Varsitarian.
Que added the absence of veteran Rian Maldia in Game 3 due to sudden dizziness took its toll on the team. Maldia suffers from lymphoma and undergoes medication.
The Lady Paddlers succumbed to rival De La Salle University, 1-3, in Game 3.
With UST down 1-2, Lady Green Paddler Jamaica Sy swept Katrina Tempiatura, 3-0, to secure La Salle’s fourth-straight championship.
UST escaped La Salle in Game 1, 3-2, but the Lady Green Paddlers bounced back with a 3-2 clincher of their own.
“We made a mistake in the lineup [in Game 3]. Actually, kaya naman nila kaya lang bumigay na talaga sila. Pati ‘yung boys ko [bumigay na] mentally and physically. Pati ako na-drain na,” UST women’s team head coach Lori Wadjad said.
In the juniors’ division, the girls’ team made quick work of De La Salle-Zobel, 3-1, but the boys’ squad succumbed to NU, 0-3, in Game 3.
The girls’ team never lost the entire season round en route to the championship.
University of the Philippines and Far Eastern University landed third in men’s and women’s division, respectively.