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Tiebreaker Times


Fighting Maroons rout Tams for share of lead

The winning streak goes on as the University of the Philippines of the Philippines toppled the Far Eastern University Tamaraws, 4-1, to secure their place in the Final Four of the UAAP Season 79 men’s badminton tournament, Sunday morning at the Rizal Memorial Badminton Hall.

JM Bernardo took the lead for the Maroons with a 21-7, 21-18 win over Estarco Bacalso in the first singles match. The newbie took the first game convincingly after mixing it up on offense. Bacalso kept it close in the second game, but it was the composure of the UP upstart that showed in the crucial stretch of the final frame to take the match.

Fifth-year senior Miggy Leonardo then pushed the lead to 2, with a quick work of Aisom Punongbayan. The graduating Maroon led early and never looked back and finished the match in 17 minutes in two 21-9 games.

Last year’s usual tandem of CK Clemente and Wakee Deato then took care of the first doubles match, and consequently the tie. The Maroon duo shook off the challenge posted by Bacalso and Josh Maquelabit to get the opening game at 22-20.

It was a different story in the second frame, as the Diliman-based shuttlers imposed their will from the start. Errors compounded for FEU in the tailend of the game, before Clemente served straight to Maquelabit forcing a miscue on the return as UP won the frame, the match, and the tie at 21-16.

Bernardo made his double duty day count in the second doubles match. The second-year Sports Science major and partner Jojo Malelang fashioned a convincing 21-5, 21-10 win over Vincent Bautista and Jade Sarmiento.

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Maquelabit averted a shutout with a 21-16, 21-17 over Joseph Lopez.

With the win, the Fighting Maroons marched on to their third straight semifinals appearance.

The UP squad (5-0) looks to upset reigning champions National University (5-0) in a battle of two undefeated teams. On the other hand, FEU (2-3) battles the University of Santo Tomas (2-3) in crucial tiff for the other two semifinal berths.

Grew to appreciate various sports from tennis to judo. True-maroon kiddo since the new millennium. Fanboy. Singer. Occasional sports writer.

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