Blazers, Red Lionesses advance in NCAA table tennis

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Defending champions De La Salle-College St. Benilde (CSB) Blazers and San Beda College Red Lionesses sustained their winning momentum in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) table tennis tournament at the Colegio de San Juan de Letran (CSJL) Gym in Intramuros, Manila on Sunday.

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The CSB Blazers outsmarted the University of Perpetual Help System-Dalta (UPHSD) Altas, 3-1.

Perpetual’s John Sugatan drew the first blood by beating Seknight Benoya, 8-11, 11-6, 7-11, 10-12, while reigning Most Valuable Player (MVP) Ryan Jacolo of CSB finished off Mijo Tolopia in straight sets, 11-6, 12-10, 11-3.

Yuta Tortosa and Koby Cabrido survived a five-set thriller against UPHSD’s Patrick Pasumbal and Jon Sinchongco, 9-11, 8-11, 13-11, 11-8, 11-6.

“So far, they performed well today. We had a hard time against Perpetual since they’re complete and solid like us. Breaks of the game helped us win,” said CSB head coach Rudolph Palermo.

Jacolo then notched the third win for CSB at the expense of Sugatan, 7-11, 12-10, 11-7, 11-6.

“Well, there would be little adjustments on the mental toughness of the players. Sometimes, they collapse so I have to remind them not to relax especially when we’re up in the set,” Palermo added.

In the women’s division, the Red Lionesses swept the Emilio Aguinaldo College (EAC) Lady Generals, 3-0.

Beverly Paulma took away the first set from EAC’s Precious Fulgariñas, 11-3. The Lady General then retaliated and snatched the second set, 8-11, but Paulma finished off Fulgariñas in the next two sets, 11-7, 11-9.

Lioness Lyr Leyva blanked Mari Khar Tolentino in straight sets, 11-7, 12-10, 11-6, while San Beda’s duo Angel Sanchez and Abhie Nuevo easily dispatched Lovely Sayson and Christina Infante, 11-8, 11-7, 11-5.

“Right now, we don’t need to relax. We still have to improve their performance. As of now, we don’t lose yet but we are not underestimating our opponents because they trained for this event and prepared for this for a year so we’re just playing the good game. I always tell them that they have to trust their teammates so that when they play, their confidence and trust on their plays remain,” said San Beda head coach Kurt de Guzman.

The CSB Blazers and the SBC Lionesses both hold a 6-0 win-loss cards. The Red Lionesses will face the Arellano University (AU) Lady Chiefs, while the Blazers will battle the undefeated Letran Knights for the top spot at 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday at the same venue.

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