With the same underdog mindset from last season, defending UAAP Women’s Badminton champions Ateneo de Manila University commenced their title-defense bid in convincing fashion, dominating the De La Salle University, 5-0, Friday afternoon at the Centro Atletico Badminton Center.
In the battle of the last two champions, Chanelle Lunod and Geva De Vera led the Lady Eagles to victory. The two captains swept their initial assignments of the season.
Lunod opened the day with a two-set conquest of La Salle captain Iyah Sevilla at 21-17, 21-16 in the first singles match. De Vera then romped Kanna Baba, 21-11, 21-9.
The two clinched the tie win in the first doubles match over their singles opponents. They also needed just two games, 21-12, 21-16.
Mika De Guzman was impressive in her UAAP debut, taking down Mia Mangulimdan at 21-9, 21-9, in the second singles match. The rookie then paired up with Geia De Vera to sweep Mangulimdan and Palma Cruz, 21-15, 22-20, in the other doubles match.
For Lunod, Ateneo came into the season without thinking they are the reigning champions.
“We’re coming into this with a clean slate. Parang hindi namin iniisip na nag-champion kami last season. Ang iisipin namin is we’re equal to the other teams,” she said.
“Basta hindi lang kami nagre-relax, kaya siguro ganito yung naging outcome nung game today.”
On the other hand, the National University made it two victories in a row after they pummeled the University of the East, 5-0, in the other pairing.
Graduating standout Jiselle Capillo swept her outings for the afternoon to steer the Lady Bulldogs on top of the leaderboard. The senior and her partner Gwen Desadola then cruised past Kessara Palot and Graziel Cabriga on the tie-clinching win 21-12, 21-15 in the first doubles match. She also closed out the tie with a 21-15, 21-11 rout of Cabriga.
UAAP Season 81 Rookie of the Year Sarah Barredo made quick work of Patrice Reyes, 21-7, 21-11. Meanwhile, Kate Amigable took down Justine Amposta at 21-15, 21-4 to put NU on top at 2-0. Jeya Pinlac and Nica Songcuan completed the sweep over Reyes and Amposta, 21-7, 21-7, in the other doubles match.
Like in the morning session, the University of Santo Tomas carved another come-from-behind win over the Adamson University at 3-2. Sophomore Kristeen Geronimo first stopped graduating senior Jhay Anne Macabenta in the deciding singles match. The second-year Tigress Shuttler thendominated her opponent in just 23 minutes, 21-11, 21-6, to secure UST’s first win of the season.
Clydel Pada put Adamson in the lead after winning over Stephanie Mortera, 21-15, 21-13 in the first singles match. She then won against Elij Pena and Alexandra Aguilar in the first doubles match, along with Monica Gonzales, 21-12, 21-17.
However, Mortera made amends in the second doubles match. She teamed up with Geronimo to upend Lizette Dela Cueva and Macabenta, 21-12, 21-12, to set up the do-or-die match.
Story by Aeron Valderrama
Photo by Mia Montayre