The UST Male Tennisters are back in the finals after fending off the pesky NU Bulldogs, 3-2, in the semifinals of the UAAP Season 86 men's tennis tournament at the Rizal Memorial Complex on Saturday, March 23. (Photo by Albert Earl A. Gomez/ The Varsitarian)

THE UST Male Tennisters punched their finals ticket after a 3-2 escape of the NU Bulldogs in the semifinals of the UAAP Season 86 men’s tennis tournament at the Rizal Memorial Tennis Court on Saturday, March 23.

UST, the defending champion, will have more than a week to rest before the best-of-three finals against last season’s runners-up Ateneo Blue Eagles on April 3.

“Every game may pressure talaga e,” UST head coach Alexander Diego said postgame. “We will maintain the practice and conditioning kasi we have one week because of the Holy Week, so we have a lot of time to practice.”

Nilo Ledama drew first blood after dominating NU’s Jules Lazaro, 6-2, 6-4. 

UST duo of Richard Bautista and Nash Agustines toppled Bulldogs Ibarra Ortega and Angil Balaoing, 6-4, 7-5, to give the Male Tennisters a 2-0 lead.

However, NU’s Vince Tugade completed a come-from-behind over Sebastian Santos, win against Sebastian Santos, 4-6, 6-1, 6-0.

Bulldogs Allen Manlangit and Gab Bandoquillo tied the game after prevailing against Male Tennisters and brothers Steven and Christopher Sonsona, 6-4, 6-2.

Ericjay Tangub made quick work of Miguel Vicencio in the last match, 6-4, 6-1, to secure the finals ticket for UST.