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Fighting Maroons smother Adamson for third win

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The University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons inched closer to at least a playoff spot after running over Adamson University Soaring Falcons, 5–0, Sunday morning at the Rizal Memorial Badminton Hall.

UP veteran Miggy Leonardo started the onslaught after finishing off Adamson rookie Kevin Fabros in two straight sets in the first singles match. Leonardo got off to a hot start by stringing points in bundles while limiting Fabros to single points to lead at the first game break, 11–5. UP took it from there and ended the frame with a 5–0 run, 21–7. The fourth-year Maroon continued with his blistering pace in the following game and took an even bigger 11–3 advantage at the interval. Another 5–0 run — this time at the middle portion of the game — sealed the deal for UP and closed out the match, 21–5.

In the second singles, Team Captain Jon Masongsong doubled the tie advantage for UP when he waylaid Adamson veteran EJ Viloria in two games. Viloria scored two straight points to start off the match, but five straight points from Masongsong pushed the latter into the break, 11–9. From there, UP did not let up as two huge scoring runs clinched the game, 21–13. In the second game, the Adamson shuttler again took the first two points, before errors on his side gave UP the lead. Now with the advantage, Masongsong then scored four straight points to get to the interval first, 11–9. After the break, UP fended off any attempts of Adamson for a comeback and capped of the game and the match with a 6–0 binge, 21–13.

Playing in their first UAAP doubles match as partners in a while, UP seniors Leonardo and Jojo Malelang clinched the win for their team against Joshua Antonio and Jeffrey Iquiña. The Falcons stunned the Maroons duo with a fiery opening into the match with their aggression to go ahead. This proved too much as they succumbed to errors, conceding the advantage to UP at the interval, 11–10. Five consecutive points from Leonardo and Malelang moved pivotal as they pulled through with the first game win, 21–16. In the following game, the Fighting Maroons zapped all the fight in the Antonio and Iquiña with an 11–1 romp into the break. Ultimately this huge advantage put the game out of reach for Adamson, and UP took their second straight win of the season.

With the tie already in the books, Adamson’s Viloria and partner Elben Concha tested the tandem of Vinci Manuel and Betong Pineda in the following doubles match. It was tight opening in the first game before UP took the advantage at the break off three straight points and a service fault by Concha, 11–7. Manuel and Pineda flexed their muscles after the interval and finished the first frame, 21–11. In the following set, however, Adamson got their game going and led 11–9 at the interval. Three consecutive errors from the Maroons just after the ceasefire was all that Concha and Viloria needed to force the match into a deciding set, 21–16. The UP pair bounced back at the start the final game and led 11–6 at the court change after another miscue on the service from Adamson. The trailing tandem tried to mount a rally to keep it close; nonetheless, the Maroons held off their opponents and the match ended fittingly on another service error. Manuel and Pineda won the game and the match, 21–15.

Malelang completed the sweep and the rout when he demolished Adamson’s Gerloth Delizo in the final singles match in just two matches. The UP veteran rolled with an 11–6 at the first game break. Delizo tried to keep in step with Malelang after the interval, only the latter managed to waive off the challenge to clinch the match, 21–14. The Falcon used this newfound confidence to stay with Malelang in the opening part of the second game. After the break, Malelang threatened to put the match out of reach with a 4–0 run, until Delizo countered with his own binge. On the other hand, the fourth-year Maroon would not be denied of the victory, when he took the last three points and secured the win, 21–18.

The Fighting Maroons will try to cement their place in the semifinals when they face University of the East on Saturday, October 3. Meanwhile, the Soaring Falcons will battle against Ateneo de Manila University on the same day.

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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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