Team Joola, led by former UAAP star John Russell Misal, demolished University of Santo Tomas Team B, 3-0, in the Men’s Open team event on Friday at the start of the 9th Flexible Cup International Table Tennis Championships at the Harrison Plaza Activity Center in Malate, Manila.
Coming off from a strong Round-of-16 campaign in the World Championship of PingPong in London, Misal easily disposed of Nico Nayre, 11-7, 11-9, 11-9 in the first match while Chen Lei Xin won over Reymart Mabuang, 11-2, 11-4, 11-5 in the second match. Alexis Bolante completed Team Joola’s sweep via an 11-6, 11-4, 11-6 win over Carl Victorio,
“Matagal na kaming naglalaro ni Nico, patas lang kami, medyo napaganda lang ang gising ko,” said Misal, UAAP Rookie of the Year (2013) at Most Valuable Player (2017) while playing for the National University.
“Maraming magagaling, pero pipilitin kong makuha ang gold medal at mag-champion ditto,” said Misal, who also set to play in the men’s single Open event.
Misal, a proud native of Toril, Davao City, made headlines when he beat Briton star Ashley Stokes to reach the Round-of-16 at the prestigious World Championship of Pingpong held in London, England on January 26-27. He was part of the Philippine delegation for the Sports Exchange program in Beijing and trained in Shengdeng, China last year.
The other members of the Joola team are Jong Ortalla and Charlie Lim, honorary president of Table Tennis Association for National Development (TATAND), the organizer of the tournament made possible by Flexible Packaging Corporation.
Aside from Joola and UST-2, also bracketed in Group C are Malaysia and Fleet Marine. Indonesia, Philippine Army, Baker Studio and Trudel-UST are in Group A, University of Taipei, Green Paddle, UST-1, and Omila Sports Academy are in Group B while Chinese Taipei, Hua Ching, Crime Lab-Altruists and Jade Dragon are in Group D.
The top two teams in each group will advance to the second stage of the three-day tournament which offers PHP50,000 to the overall team champion and PHP10,000 to the men’s and women’s singles champions.
More than 400 players are seeing action in the high school, collegiate and Open divisions of the Flexible Cup. Those who will top their respective events will be included in the delegation, which TATAND will send to China for a sports exchange program.
Tags: Ashley Stokes, John Russell Misal, National University, Omila Sports Academy, Philippine Army, Philippine delegation, Table Tennis Association for National Development, UAAP, UAAP Rookie of the Year, University of Santo Tomas, World Championship of Pingpong