The Ateneo de Manila University Blue Eagles made their one-day break count when they faced bitter rivals De La Salle University Green Shuttlers, Sunday morning.
The Katipunan side was impressive, taking down their Taft-based opponents in 4-1, during their meeting at the Rizal Memorial Badminton Hall.
Last year’s Rookie of the Year Keoni Asuncion shook off a first-game setback to turn back Jerrickson Obaob in the first singles match. What was surprising was how the second-year Atenean dominated the opponent in the second and third games to put Ateneo in the lead at 1-0. Asuncion pocketed the match at 19-21, 21-14, 21-10.
Picking up from that huge win, team captain Carlo Remo doubled the lead for the Blue and White after a close finish past Glenn Camillo. The fifth-year standout had to fend off the challenge of the opponent in the latter parts of the set to eventually take the win at 21-19, 21-17.
La Salle, however, took one back as Cayel Pajarillo and Obaob carved out a similarly close victory in the second doubles match. The La Salle pair needed to execute when it mattered most, before closing out Clarence Filart and Patrick Gecosala in two games, 21-18, 22-20.
The Blue Eagles then sent their first two singles players to combine for the clincher.
Remo and Asuncion used their momentum from their one-versus-one victories to deny Bee Monterubio, Andrew Pineda, and the rest of the Green and White squad another attempt at a comeback, as what the latter did against University of Santo Tomas in the first round. It was an easy first-set win at 21-15, but the Blue Eagles had to dig deep in the second to take the match at 21-18.
Former skipper Filart wrapped up the rout, taking care of Pajarillo in 24-26, 21-13, 21-8.
The Blue Eagles (2-0) will face an inspired University of the East Red Warriors squad (1-2) on Friday, September 29 at 8am. For their part, the dislodged league-leaders Green Archers (2-1) will battle the same team the following day, September 30, also at 8am.
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