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 from a strong Round-of-16 campaign in the World Championship of PingPong in London, Misal easily beat 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 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) and Most Valuable Player (2017), while playing for the National University.
Misal, 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 Jan. 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, the organizer of 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.