Yok Jing Ma repeats as a champion, while Angel Tejada gets to go out as one.
They represent the latest combination to earn a Valley Oak League doubles championship for Manteca High’s boys tennis team.
Neither player could suppress the smiles on their faces while up comfortably 40-love in the final game of their nip-and-tuck battle with the Kimball tandem of Mark Dalupan and Ivan Acosta Thursday at East Union High.
Well, maybe not so comfortably.
“Don’t mess up,” Tejada said. “That’s what was going through my mind.”
The Buffalo pair won 7-6 (7-5), 6-4 and celebrated with a chest bump after Acosta’s forehand shot sailed wide right. Ma, a sophomore, teamed up with Jacob Webb to earn last year’s doubles title. Tejada is a second-year player as a senior.
Also on Thursday was the VOL singles finale that pitted Manteca sophomore Mike Lopez and Kimball freshman Garrett Chun, who prevailed, 6-2, 6-1.
Ma and Tejada are the sixth Manteca doubles team in seven years to capture the VOL title, but it’s a surprise pairing from Manteca coach Frank Fontana. These “super doubles” teams typically consist of standout singles players who don’t advance to the singles final. Ma is Manteca’s No. 2 player, while Tejada has played mostly at doubles.
“The personalities have to click and work together,” Fontana said. “Yok is kind of a mellow person and so is Angel, so that part of it works.
“Also, Angel has played doubles all year so he at least has experience being on the doubles court. He’s solid. He’s not going to be flashy, but he’s going to do what he’s supposed to do. On the other hand, Yok is more of the flashy player so it’s a nice combination. The balance worked out well together.”
It didn’t come easy for them.
Ma and Tejada also had to grind out a win over Sonora’s Josh Smith and Andrew Klatt 6-4, 7-6 (8-6) in the semifinals, and another against Weston Ranch’s Chai Saepharn and Carl Legaspi 6-7, 6-1, 6-3 in the second round.
“We had two two-hour matches before this (final),” Ma said. “My legs are killing me right now.”
Dalupan and Acosta proved to be worthy adversaries in the title round. They fell behind 0-3 in the opening set and later took a 5-4 lead. Ma and Tejada worked through two set-point situations to pull out the narrow win.
Dalupan dominated with his net play during the second set and helped the Kimball twosome stake a 4-3 lead. Manteca took control from there, with Ma coming through with big serves toward the end.
“It’s cool to be able to win this as an underclassman two years straight,” Ma said.
Lopez is the singles runner-up for two years straight. Last season he fell to then-senior teammate Oral Nunis. He faced an even tougher opponent Thursday in Chun, a year-round veteran in the U.S. Tennis Association circuit.
“Honestly, I just wanted to make it competitive and didn’t want to give him an easy win,” Lopez said. “When I last played him a couple years ago it was terrible. I did make it more competitive this time, but he played real good match.”
The Manteca trio qualified for the Sac-Joaquin Section Division II Individual Tournament, which takes place May 2-3 at the Johnson Ranch Racquet Club in Roseville. Kimball, Weston Ranch and Manteca will compete in the SJS Division II Team Tournament starting Monday when Manteca hosts Livingston in an out-bracket match.