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Manteca takes 10th out of 16 in California Classic

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POSTED March 4, 2013 1:14 a.m.

Mike Lopez and Yok-Jing Ma both capped play in the California Boys Tennis Classic undefeated with two more wins on Saturday at Central High of Fresno.

The sophomore tandem led Manteca High to a 2-3 record and a 10th-place finish out of a field of 16 in Division-V bracket. After claiming one of three matches in group play Friday, the Buffaloes defeated Oakmont (Roseville) and lost to Valley Christian (San Jose) in the battle for ninth.

“Mike and Yok went 5-0, and I couldn’t have asked for more,” Manteca coach Frank Fontana said. “I wasn’t expecting that and there were some positive signs there. They’re only sophomores. If you would have told me before that we weren’t going to lose a No. 1 singles match I would have been shocked.”

Lopez played at No. 1 singles in both matches on Saturday, but Ma filled in at the spot for one on Friday with Lopez competing in doubles. Their dominant play lifted the Buffaloes past Oakmont via tiebreaker. After battling to a 3-3 draw, it went to the second tiebreaking criteria — games won. Manteca 51, Oakmont 46.

Puneet Sandhu and Angel Tejada also won at No. 1 doubles, clinching the third set, 11-9. Fontana said that his second doubles pair of Spencer Jackson and Yayha Shabbar made the difference despite them losing.

“It was a really close, competitive match throughout,” Fontana said. “The most important match was No. 2 doubles. Even though they lost, they kept it competitive enough to make a difference in the tiebreaker.”

Valley Christian edged Manteca 4-2 in the finale, with Lopez and Ma winning for the Buffs (3-4 overall). They return to Valley Oak League action Tuesday against Sierra at the Manteca Regional Tennis Center and head to Sonora Thursday for what could end up being a pivotal match down the road.

“Hopefully we gained some good experience with this trip,” Fontana said. “We’d like to continue this roll we’re on and keep playing well.”

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