Nilo Ledama (Photo by Jana Francesca D. Yao/ The Varsitarian)

UST sophomore Nilo Ledama has had a remarkable start to his UAAP career, winning championships in both his seasons so far and earning the MVP award in both years.

This season was particularly special for Ledama, as he became the first player to win the regular-season MVP award in the UAAP men’s tennis tournament. In the past, the MVP award was typically given to the finals MVP, but this year, the two awards were separated.

Ledama, who was discovered by UST scouts at a commercial tennis tournament in Aurora in 2021, expressed his awe at being the first recipient of the regular-season MVP award.

“Shocked ako and also blessed kasi first time ito nangyari,” he told the Varsitarian. “Hopefully next year, makuha ko ulit.”

Ledama, who was the Season 85 Rookie of the Year, assumed greater leadership responsibilities this season. He led the Male Tennisters in the elimination round, finishing with an impressive 11-1 win-loss record and a 91.7 percent winning percentage.

But it was not all smooth sailing for Ledama, who said he had to rely on his teammates for support after experiencing a loss in Game 1 of the finals.

“Hindi sa lahat ng panahon, mananalo ako, pero noong natalo ako, I had goosebumps kasi may teammates pa rin ako na kayang manalo pa rin para sa amin.” 

In Game 3, UST made a swerve and had Ledama play in the doubles category. He teamed up with eventual Finals MVP Steven Sonsona to defeat Blue Eagles Nio Tria and Axl Gonzaga with a commanding 6-2, 6-1 victory.

UST head coach Alexander Diego also commended Ledama’s growth from a player from Pagadian to a star in the UAAP.

“Nilo came from the provinces, hindi siya nag-undergo ng proper tennis training unlike most of the players here in the NCR,” he told the Varsitarian. “Apart from his playing prowess, Nilo also exhibited focus on his academics. Complete package talaga siya noong kinuha ko.”

Ledama will lead the Male Tennisters as captain in their pursuit of a third consecutive title in Season 87.