UH Tennis’ Andre Ilagan to make second-straight NCAA Championship appearance
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Andre Ilagan is no stranger to the big dance.
Ilagan made his first appearance in the NCAA tourney last year, but it wasn’t the result he wanted, so when given the choice to return, the Farrington alumni did just that, making history in his fifth year at UH to put him back in a familiar spot.
Ilagan received the Big West Conference’s automatic berth into the tourney with a team best 16-3 overall singles record.
The fifth year senior looking to extend his UH career next week in Orlando...using what he learned in 2022 to his advantage.
“last year, I was like, did an insane run and so I became an underdog to the top dog and now that I know that I’m the top dog this year, I’m expecting that they’re going to have a game plan on me and know what to do.” Ilagan told reporters. “So I’m more prepared.”
Andre has had a decorated career in Manoa, he is one of only two Rainbow Warriors to make it to the big dance after Andreas Weber did it in 2007 and the only ‘Bow to do it twice.
“Andre has always been about making history here at UH, doing something that had never been done.” Head coach Joel Kusnierz said. “So I’m looking forward to seeing him fulfill that.”
No matter what happens next week, Andre takes great responsibility representing his home on the biggest of stages.
“You know, we’re not a big state and the entire community is showing a lot of love no matter what sport you play in.” Ilagan said. “I just want to give back, that’s all that matters, I mean, being a local kid, all you want to do is just give back to your community.”
After his run with the ‘Bows, Andre plans to turn pro and according to his coaches, his work ethic and attitude will take him a long ways.
“He’s always been, hey, I’m just gonna make my attitude my number one focus and then we’ll see where this, where this goes.” Coach said. “I think that’s what he’s going to take on his next chapter, you know, just being in the moment and then just giving his best.”
The NCAA Men’s Tennis Championships is set to run from May 22nd to the 27th in Orlando.
Copyright 2023 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.