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Defending champions Blue Shuttlers eliminate UP, 3-1

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Even with a twice-to-beat advantage over the Fighting Maroons, the Ateneo de Manila University Blue Shuttlers, led by Patrick and Justin Natividad, eliminated the University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons in 4 matches. With the win, the Ateneo de Manila Blue Shuttlers set-up a date with their arch-rivals, the De La Salle University Green Shuttlers in the semifinals of this year’s UAAP Men’s Badminton Tournament.

 

Men’s Singles Match 1: Patrick Wilfred Natividad (ADMU) def. Lorenzo Miguel Leonardo (UP); 2:1

ADMU 1 – 0 UP

 

Two highly-ranked shuttlers faced-off in the opening match of the UP-ADMU quarterfinals. In the 1st game between Natividad and Leonardo, Leonardo would take an early 11-4 lead. Patrick Natividad returns were either flat or would hit the net early on. Natividad would then find his footing after the break to slowly come crawling back and cut the deficit down to 2 at 13-11. Leonardo would then come rallying back to score in a series of drops and Natividad errors to take the 1st game 21-13. The 2nd game would see a fired-up Patrick Natividad take a huge 10-1 lead over Leonardo. There would be no comeback from the shuttler from Diliman as Patrick Natividad would take the game 21-12 to tie things up at 1. The deciding set saw the two shuttlers go point-for-point in the early goings of the game. Leonardo would then score 6 of the next 7 points, including an emphatic smash, to take the lead going into the 11th point break at 11-6. The Leonardo lead would extend to 16-11. Patrick Natividad luckily would find his momentum at the right moment. Leonardo would have a hard time figuring-out the low-style of play and deceiving returns of Natividad to tie the game at 16-all. With the game almost reaching an hour, Patrick Natividad would unleash another furious rally, scoring 5 out of the last 6 points to give Ateneo it’s first match point of the day.

 

Aggregate Score: P.Natividad 55 – Leonardo 51

Total Match Time: 54 mins

 

Men’s Singles Match 2: Justin Wilbert Natividad (ADMU) def. Wilson Joseph Lopez (UP); 2:0

ADMU 2 – 0 UP

 

Justin Natividad would start the 2nd match of the series slow. A series of short drops and outside lobs resulted to him falling 7-2 to Wilson Lopez. Justin Natividad, all warmed-up, would demonstrate various diving returns that were perfect set-ups to his drops and a smash. The game would be tied 10-all then 11-10 with Lopez leading the game during the 11th point break. Coming out of the break, Justin Natividad would find the momentum swing in his favor. Justin Natividad displayed excellent returns and offense by only giving-up just 3 points after the break, routing Wilson Lopez with the score of 21-14. The 2nd game would be a tight match as the game would be tied 4 times in the early part of the game. Leonardo would try to break the game open with a 16-13 lead. Justin Natividad would score 3 straight points from errand returns by Lopez to again tie the game at 16. With the game tied at 19, Justin Natividad would be able to muster a final rally to win the game 21-19 and take an imposing 2-0 lead over the Fighting Maroons.

Aggregate Score: J. Natividad 42 – Lopez 33

Total Match Time: 45 mins

Men’s Doubles Match 1: Carl Kristian Clemente and Joaquin Raphael Deato (UP) def. Theodore Christopher Co and Nicole Clarence Filart (ADMU); 2:0

ADMU 2 – 1 UP

 

Needing to win all the remaining matches in the series to have a chance to fight another day, the tandem of CK Clemente and Joaquin Deato would fight tooth and nail for every point in their victory over Theodore Co and Nicole Filart. The pair from Diliman would win a close 1st game with a score of 21-19. The 2nd set saw Clemente take charge for the Fighting Maroons, registering 10 excellent returns. Co and Filart would not be in-sync the entire game, even clanking their rackets in a couple of moments. Clemente and Deato would take the game and the match with a score of 21-17.

 

Aggregate Score: Clemente and Deato 42 – Co and Filart 36

Total Match Time: 40 mins

 

Men’s Doubles Match 2: Patrick Wilfred Natividad and Justin Wilbert Natividad (ADMU) def. Lorenzo Miguel Leonardo and Ethan Joshua Malelang (UP); 2:1

ADMU 3 – 1 UP (ADMU wins)

 

In another close match-up, the Natividad brothers were able to close-out the series and eliminate the UP Fighting Maroons in 3 games. The 1st game was a close set. With the score at 17-13 in favor of the Natividads, Ethan Malelang would be a one-man show in scoring a string of 4 points to tie the game at 17. That huge boost would be enough to swing the tide of the game to the UP pair to win the 1st set 21-19. The 2nd set would be a display of Patrick Natividad’s excellent court control, even in a doubles’ setting. Justin Natividad also displayed solid set-up smashes that would eventually lead to a smash from his brother. The shuttlers from Katipunan would take the 2nd set 21-17 to tie things up. Going into the deciding set for the match-up, the question raised in the ADMU crowd was would the Ateneo tandem of Patrick and Justin Natividad still continue the pace they pushed for last 35 minutes after having played 54 and 45 minutes respectively. The opposite happened as the UP tandem were the ones who were visibly fatigued all throughout the 3rd set. This set served as the curtain call for the UP Men’s Badminton team as they were outclassed by the Natividad brothers with a score of 21-14. Ateneo advances on to the semifinals.

 

Aggregate Score: P. Natividad and J. Natividad 61 – Leonardo and Malelang 52

Total Match Time: 50 mins

 

With this win, the Ateneo Blue Shuttlers would book a date with the 2nd place team DLSU Green Shuttlers. The Green Shuttlers would have the twice-to-beat advantage. In their first meeting this year, the Green Shuttlers beat the Blue Shuttlers 3 sets to 2.

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