By: Kristoffer Ed Bellen
MANILA—The National University Bulldogs continue their return to glory as they remain undefeated one week before the first round of the UAAP Season 81 tennis tournament ends at the Colegio de San Agustin Tennis Center at Bulacan to assure the top spot.
NU solidified its hold at the men's division after cruising past the University of Sto. Tomas Growling Tigers on Saturday, 4-1, before taking a rest for their bye day on Sunday.
The Bulldogs are now 5-0 in the season.
"(It's) a solid win today by the NU Bulldogs over the UST Growling Tigers. (We're) moving to 5-0 for UAAP Season 81.
"(It's) always a bittersweet feeling going up against my former team and alma mater, but always more than happy to take the W," shared NU head coach Karl Sta. Maria in a Facebook post.
Sta. Maria, who is undoubtedly the biggest reason behind NU's recent success, is in his eighth year coaching in the Sampaloc-based squad, and in his 18th year overall, after 10 colorful years in UST.
But, to no avail, the multi-titled mentor who has already won 20 titles for both Tigers and Bulldogs, is easy to shrug off the brilliance and spotlight that his team currently enjoys.
"It’s too early in the season to be assuming we are a contender, and we’re not going to put undue pressure on ourselves by assuming we are a contender.
"There are too many talented teams and there are too many games left in the season, so our only goal for now is to keep getting better as individuals and as a group, and prepare our gameplan for our next opponent."
The Lady Bulldogs, meanwhile, grabbed a much-needed victory over the Lady Tigresses, 4-1, to finally join the win column.
NU and UST are currently tied at the bottom of the standings with a 1-2 slate, but things could change this weekend if they earn separate victories against the the University of the Philippines Lady Maroons and De La Salle University Green Archers.
An NU and UST win will embark a rare five-way tie among all teams and will join Ateneo de Manila University Blue Eagles with a 2-2 record after the first round.
Follow the writer on Twitter: @KristoffBellen___
FULL RESULTS: Men's Division
NU defeats UST, 4-1
La Salle defeats Adamson, 4-1
Ateneo defeats UE, 4-1
UP defeats AdU, 4-1
UST defeats UE, 4-1
Ateneo defeats La Salle, 3-2
FULL RESULTS: Women's Division
UP defeats Ateneo, 3-2
NU defeats UST, 4-1