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Buffaloes competitive in first day of ‘Classic’

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POSTED March 2, 2013 12:34 a.m.

Manteca High’s boys tennis team got quite the workout while getting in some good competition Friday in the California Boys Tennis Classic.

The Buffaloes went 1-2 in their group at Fresno’s Central High, but coach Frank Fontana was pleased with the effort as his players did battle under springtime conditions. To combat fatigue, he had different lineups for every match, allowing his singles players to play at least one doubles contest to give their legs some relief.

“We only have 11 guys down here and we need nine for every match, so the guys were a little gassed today,” he said. “I wanted to give them an opportunity to save their energy because it’s pretty warm down here today and we have another long day ahead of us tomorrow.”

Manteca, placed in the fifth of eight competitive-based divisions, began tournament action with host Central, which prevailed, 4-2. The Buffaloes bounced back with a 5-1 win over Mount Whitney of Visalia before ending with a 4-2 defeat to Stockdale (Bakersfield).

The Buffaloes nearly forced a tiebreaker in the Central match, as doubles partners Puneet Sandhu and Thomas Reza dropped a tough 6-7, 7-5, 8-10 decision. The team’s top two singles players, Mike Lopez and Yok-Jing Ma, accounted for its only points, and both won every match they were in.

Reza contributed a singles victory against Mount Whitney, and Manteca swept at doubles. Spencer Jackson joined Ma, Angel Tejada linked up with Andre Wiggins, and Gino Mercado and Yayha Shabdar made up the No. 3 tandem.

Against Stockdale, Lopez joined forces with Sandhu for a win, and Ma chipped in the other point. Fontana was encouraged by how his two best players fared Friday.

“They played amazing all day, regardless if they were in singles or doubles,” Fontana said of Lopez and Ma. “They played some good players in competitive matches and they really impressed me today.

“It was overall a pretty good day. We saw some good teams and the guys played better than they did in our first two (Valley Oak) league matches. That’s why we come here every year — the level of competition pushes us to be better.”

Manteca will face each of the third-place finishers in the other three Division-5 groups today.

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