Sophomores Jan Mangubat at Hanz Bernardo delivered for the Blue and White as they exacted some measure of revenge from last year’s defeat in the same stage against the same opponent.
The Ateneo de Manila University Blue Eagles outlasted arch-rivals De La Salle University Green Shuttlers in five matches, 3-2, en route to taking the other semifinals berth in the UAAP Season 79 men’s badminton postseason, Wednesday afternoon at the Rizal Memorial Badminton Hall.
Mangubat opened the tie with a victory for the blue side after defeating graduating Green Shuttler Kenneth Monterubio, 21-17, 21-16. The Ateneo sophomore piled up the points in the opening portions of both games before Monterubio caught up. In the end, the power hits from Mangubat propelled him to the win and the lead for Ateneo.
Senior La Sallian Carlos Cayanan put the match in the balance again. The super senior outlasted Clarence Filart in three grueling games, 19-21, 21-19, 21-19.
Cayanan took initiative in the first game of the match, but Filart slowly inched closer with better execution. Errors from the Green Shuttler towards the end gave away the set to his opponent’s favor.
That was also the case in the following game, but this time it was Filart who took the pressure heavily and failed to close out the frame. Cayanan then manage to take control of the third set until the fourth-year Atenean came closer. Nevertheless, a smart shot from the graduating senior finished the match off.
Mangubat and Bernardo restored Ateneo’s lead after a grueling tussle with Cayanan and Joshua Monterubio. The Loyola-based sophomores took the advantage early in the opening round as the pummeled the opposing defense with smashes.
In the second game, Joshua Monterubio and Cayanan kept the shuttlecock low and won the following frame in a battle of drives and push shots. The third game followed with the same story line, only crucial errors in the middle portion of the match doomed the Green Shuttlers to a loss and a 1-2 hole.
Kenneth Monterubio and Cayel Pajarillo wasted no time in forcing a deciding singles match as they dispatched Carlo Remo and Patrick Gecosala in two games, 21-15, 21-17. The La Salle duo dominated the match as the Ateneans succumbed to errors, which further made it easier for the Green Archers to take the win.
However, Bernardo was there to pull Ateneo through in the deciding singles match. The second-year upstart shook off some rusty moments to dominate Andrew Pineda in two 21-16 games. Known for his power, Bernardo opted for a lob on his final shot. Pineda saw the high ball and hit it strong. The shuttle though sailed wide as the Blue Eagles flew high to a semis stint.
Mangubat shared how they approach the postseason.
“Simula pa lang nung playoff for fourth against UST, ang iniisip na naming is hindi yung manalo para sa sarili naming, kung hindi para sa team,” he said.
The second-year shuttler also believes that one of the key factors of them reaching the semifinals this time is their team chemistry.
Mangubat shared that Ateneo needs the same determination come their semis battle against twice-to-beat University of the Philippines, but must add something else.
“Siguro dagdagan lang namin ng focus. Hindi na pwedeng mag-relax, ngayon malapit na kami sa top,” he ended.
The semifinals between the Katipunan neighbors is scheduled on Saturday, October 8, 9:00am at the same venue.