Ateneo is ISTA back-to-back Division 1 champ!

February 12, 2018
AHS Lawn Tennis Team

(L-R) Mik Balce, Rafa Halili, Coach Gee Abacan, Nio Tria, Chester Tiongson
Consisting of lawn tennis players from the Ateneo Senior High School (ASHS) and Ateneo Junior High School (AJHS), Team Ateneo emerged as division 1 champion of the Inter School Tennis Association (ISTA) tournament in the afternoon of February 10, 2018 at the Colegio San Agustin Tennis Courts in Makati City.  The blue and white netters picked up their sixth straight win of the ISTA season, blanking De La Salle Zobel 5-0 Saturday afternoon to win the prestigious ISTA title. 
The Blue Eaglets started hot as team captain Manuel “Mik” Balce III(12-Anchieta) defeated DLSZ’s Gabriel Tiamson 8-7(3) in a hard fought match at first singles. Jose Antonio “Nio” Tria(10-Briant) cruised past Marcus del Rosario 8-1 in second singles and Rafael Carlo “Rafa” Halili(12-Evans) bested Diego Dayrit 8-4 at third singles.
In doubles play, Mik Balce & Nio Tria defeated Tiamson & del Rosario 8-6 in first doubles while Rafa Halili & Chester Delfin Tiongson(12-Bobola) bested Dayrit and Jake Fantino 8-6.
The Blue Eaglets had one of the best, if not the best, seasons in ISTA history. They finished with a clean slate of 6-0, beating International School Manila(ISM), Colegio San Agustin Makati(CSA) and De La Salle Zobel(DLSZ) twice each in a double round robin format. Team Ateneo High School was also ISTA champion in 2015 and 2017, with Balce playing a key role in securing those trophies.
Head Coach Gee Abacan (member of the UAAP men’s champion tennis team in 2001) was proud of the team’s performance at ISTA and is now focused on one goal — winning the PRADA tennis tournament. The Blue Eaglets are the defending champions. Though the team lost Cenon “Bong” Gonzales, Jr. to graduation, three of the players from last year’s team-  Balce, Tria and Rafa Halili- have all returned this season and will continue their strong play from a year ago.
Abacan believes “Mik is a very disciplined player and makes the team better by leading by example.”
Balce has done that this season, leading the Blue Eaglets to a 6-0 sweep. Balce, Tria and Halili won both their singles and doubles matches in each tie.
The Blue Eaglets conclude their lawn tennis season on February 24, 2018 at the PRADA tournament to be held in Marist School’s tennis courts.
Thanks to the ISTA title win last February 10, Balce, Halili and Tiongson will graduate from ASHS next month as champions.