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Airish Macalino leads UP escape of NU to go to 2-0

Former University of Santo Tomas shuttler Airish Macalino made a triumphant return to the UAAP, protecting University of the Philippines’ unblemished slate over National University, 3-2, Saturday at the PNP Sports Center in Quezon City.

The Lady Maroons raised their record to 2-0 in the UAAP Season 82 Women’s Badminton Tournament.

In her first appearance as a Lady Maroon, Macalino outlasted rookie Kate Amigable in three games, 19-21, 21-16, 21-10, in the third singles match. Macalino led 19-16 in the first set, only to squander the lead, but she turned it around in the second and third frames.

“Ni-raise ko lang yung confidence ko na ‘tuloy yung laban’ at huwag makapante para manalo. Kasi yun yung nangyari sa first set ko kaya ‘ko natalo,” she admitted.

The Lady Maroons took the lead at 2-1 after rookie Aldreen Concepcion and sophomores Jaja Andres and Tricia Opon carved wins in the first singles and first doubles matches, against UAAP Season 81 Rookie of the Year Sarah Barredo’s second singles victory.

Concepcion dominated the second set over Jiselle Capillo at 21-10 after a close 25-23 first game to put UP on the board first. Barredo then leveled the tie with a dominant win over Andres, 21-10, 21-14, in the following rubber.

Andres took a brief rest and, along with Opon, took down Jeya Pinlac and Gwen Desacola in convincing fashion, 21-16, 21-7 for the lead.

Barredo and Capillo then set up the decider with a similar drubbing of UP newbies Marie Lopez and Concepcion at 21-15, 21-4.

In the other court, defending champion Ateneo also ended the day at 2-0 after another masterful sweep, 5-0, this time of Adamson.

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Rookie Mika De Guzman waylaid senior Clydel Pada, 21-12, 21-8, in the first singles match, before Bea Felizardo likewise pummeled Lizette Dela Cueva at 21-7, 21-11, to put the Lady Eagles on top.

Reigning Most Valuable Players and co-captains Chanelle Lunod and Geva De Vera bagged the tie afterwards with a 21-8, 21-7 win over Pada and Monica Magallanes. De Guzman and Sam Ramos swept Janine San Ignacio and Melody Ampusta 21-5, 21-8 in the second doubles match, while Lunod completed the sweep at 21-9, 21-7 over Magallanes.

University of Santo Tomas also made it two in a row after they blanked the listless University of the East to complete the ties for the afternoon.

Kristeen Geronimo opened the pairing with a swift 21-6, 21-7 conquest of Graziel Cabriga. Stephanie Mortera then made it 2-0 for the Tigresses at 21-11, 21-15 against Kessara Palot at 21-11, 21-15. Therese Tumbali and Samantha Chozas clinched the win at 21-8, 21-9 over Patrice Reyes and Justine Amposta.

Mortera and Geronimo teamed up and took down their two assignments, winning the second doubles match at 21-17, 21-15 over Palot and Cabriga. Elij Pena closed the rout in a rousing 21-9, 21-12 over Reyes.

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