For the past few years, the UP Men’s Tennis Team has been a respected and serious contender in each UAAP Tennis Championships. After years of struggle and disappointments, their breakout year came in the 2013-2014 season. Preparing for Season 76, the young Fighting Maroons bolstered their roster by acquiring three more rookies in Jurence Mendoza, Joshua Cano, and Enrique Ferrer.
Starting from the preseason tournaments, UP began to let their presence be known by finishing bronze and silver in the UniGames and PCA Open respectively. From there, they rode this momentum all the way to the UAAP Tournament where they finished the round-robin stage with an 8-2 record, which secured them a spot in the finals.
The final of the Season 76 UAAP Tennis Championships was that of much hype and excitement. It duked out the fresh-faced Maroons against the favored and defending champions, the NU Bulldogs. The contest went the distance and proved to be very competitive until the very last ball. Unfortunately, U.P. fell to N.U by a margin of only one match, losing 2-3. Nonethless, the runner-up finish was a significant highlight for the team as it was the first time they finished in the top two in over a decade. In addition, Jurence Mendoza won the Rookie of the Year award.
The following season would see U.P be humbled once more. The loss of numerous players to injury and school transfer left the Fighting Maroons undermanned . Despite all their efforts, the blow would be too much on the team, as they would fail to reach the podium of every single tournament they joined, including the UAAP.
However, things would finally look up for the UP Tennis Team in Season 78. The return of various key players and seniors from Season 76 and the recruitment of multiple rookies such as the likes of Vince Salas made the Fighting Maroons instant contenders to the UAAP crown once more. They would show their drastic improvement from last season by finishing 3rd in the Olivarez Tournament, 2nd in the PCA Intercollegiate Tournament, and champions in the Ateneo Invitational Tournament. Despite these positive results, the UAAP Tournament was a different challenge for U.P. as every other team had also bolstered their roster and were all vying for a spot in the finals. Yet, the Fighting Maroons came out swinging and would cap the elimination rounds with a 7-3 record, edging the UE Red Warriors and Ateneo Blue Eagles to enter the finals for the second time in three years.
In the finals, U.P. would meet their rivals, National University (NU), who had already won three consecutive UAAP championships. Once again, the tie was a fierce slugfest but in the end, the Bulldogs would capture the gold for the fourth time by beating the Maroons 3-1.
The UP Men’s Tennis Team now looks ahead to Season 79 to finally accomplish something that they have been chasing now for three years – a UAAP Championship. It has been a long time coming but through hard work and discipline, the Fighting Maroons are hoping that the third time would truly be the charm.
Record (2013 – 2015)
Season 76 (2013-14) UAAP Men’s Tennis Team - Runner-up
2013 PCA OPEN Men’s Intercollegiate Team Championships - Runner-up
2013 Uni-Games Men’s Intercollegiate Championships - Bronze Medal
2015 Olivarez National Men’s Intercollegiate Championships – 3rd Place
2015 PCA Open Men’s Intercollegiate Team Championships – Runner-up
2015 Ateneo Intercollegiate Tennis Championships – Champion
Season 78 (2015-16) UAAP Men’s Tennis Team – Runner-up
Gabriel Eduardo Gutierrez
Romnee Kyle Joseph
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