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Bianca Carlos, Lady Eagles put teamwork over individuality

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Eliminating a school that holds a twice-to-beat advantage and reaching the finals is a feat only few teams can lay claim to. Doing so against archrivals makes it all the sweeter. After winning the first tie 3-1, Ateneo had all the motivation to win again the day after they pulled off a stunner against La Salle.

However, the first match didn’t end the way Ateneo wanted, as La Salle’s Arianne Rivera got the better of Cassie Lim. But in the end, it signalled the rallying point from which the Lady Eagles rose.

The second match is arguably the most crucial in the tie, as a team can either take a step to sweeping their opponents or starting a comeback of their own. For the latter, it is good to have an insurance policy who can virtually guarantee you a match when it is needed most.

Enter Bianca Carlos.

Carlos is a UAAP athlete whose talent exceeds her mainstream popularity. She supposedly hasn’t conceded a singles match in her UAAP career. Well-known only in the badminton community, Carlos has done so much it is almost criminal how little she is covered in popular media.

When it comes to Ateneo sports, the first athletes people will think of today are the likes of Kiefer Ravena and Alyssa Valdez. But based on what she has achieved in the Blue and White, Carlos’ name should be just as prevalent. Carlos led Ateneo to a UAAP Women’s Badminton Championship in Season 76, claiming both the Rookie of the Year and Most Valuable Player awards in the process. Ateneo then finished second the following UAAP Season 77, succumbing to UP in the finals.

Philippine Sports News - Tiebreaker Times Bianca Carlos, Lady Eagles put teamwork over individuality

Her stellar UAAP career has not given her an ego, however. “We learned na to always stay strong. Heartstrong lagi. We learned na talagang teamwork. Hindi pwede isa-isa lang. Hindi pwede sira yung team. Kailangan buo kayo. As in one kayo. Yun ang susi pag nananalo ka. Hindi siya talagang tig-isang tao lang. Kailangan kung anong puso ng isang tao, puso ng isang team.”

Carlos won the second singles match in dominant fashion, winning straight games 21-12 and 21-15 and handing Ateneo the initiative. She later returned with Lim in the second doubles match to bring Ateneo back to the finals after a three game thriller. La Salle duo Alyssa Leonardo and Nicole Albo won the first game 21-13 only for Carlos and Lim to recover and eventually win the next two games 24-22 and 21-19.

Losing the first game of the second doubles match, in the most important tie of the season, can make most people crumble from pressure. Fortunately for Ateneo, Carlos isn’t one of those people. The first thing she did after the first game was to remind herself and Lim that they have every opportunity left to beat their counterparts from La Salle.

“Sabi ko lang sa kanya (Cassie Lim) since first set kami talo, hindi ako natakot kasi alam mo yung warm up pa lang namin yun? And then pagdating ng second set, nauna sila eh pero alam ko pa rin eh. Pag buo yung loob mo, sinasabi ko lang buo yung loob sa yo, buo ang loob ko, huwag kang magda-doubt kahit anong point. Nakuha namin isa-isa lang. Tiwala lang, one point at a time. Aggressive. Yun lang sinasabi ko sa kanya”, Carlos says.

Just as in last year’s finals, Ateneo has to beat UP thrice to reclaim that UAAP Women’s Badminton Championship. The Season 78 finals will be held at the Rizal Memorial Badminton Center at 1:00PM on Wednesday (October 14, 2015).

Philippine Sports News - Tiebreaker Times Bianca Carlos, Lady Eagles put teamwork over individuality

Learning from her mentor and Ateneo coach Kennie Asuncion-Robles, Carlos emphasized a “one game at a time” mantra. This was instilled in them by their veteran coach in their campaign to bring back the championship in the blue side of Quezon City. Without discounting the odds against UP, Carlos backs herself and her team to commit maximum effort to win against the odds starting on Wednesday.

“One day at a time. Yun lang ang focus namin. We’ll focus first on Wednesday. All out na ulit. Yun lang talaga ang kailangan, all out. Every point counts talaga”, concluded Carlos.

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Lorenzo's a frustrated author who knows a thing or two about Football and Basketball. Went all green from Ortigas to Taft. Supports Liverpool FC, FC Bayern Munich and the Alaska Aces

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