This was the anticipated rematch of the classic 5-game series between rivals Ateneo and De La Salle that occurred during the 2nd day of the badminton tournament this season. This time, Gerald Sibayan, John Kenneth Monterubio and Carlos Cayanan would not give-up a match to the team of King Eagle Patrick Natividad, Justin Natividad and Carlos Remo in sweeping the defending champions and setting-up a date with the unbeaten National University Bulldogs in the finals of the tournament.
Men’s Singles Match 1: Gerald Sibayan (DLSU) def. Patrick Wilfred Natividad (ADMU); 2:1
DLSU 1 – 0 ADMU
Gerald Sibayan and Patrick Natividad opened the series of the final knockout phase that would determine who would face the NU Bulldogs in the finals of this season’s badminton tournament. Right from the get-go, the match-up between the highly-ranked Patrick Natividad and Philippine Team member Gerald Sibayan was a barn-burner. Gerald Sibayan, usually a slow-starter in most of his singles matches, would storm to an early 9-4 lead that would extend to an 11-5 lead by the 11th point break. Sibayan’s strategy was to start with low drops that would eventually result into a high lob by Sibayan that Natividad would fail to return. With the Sibayan leading 16-11, the King Eagle would come crawling back to cut the Sibayan lead to 2 at 17-15. The complete comeback of Natividad however would not come into fruition as Sibayan would take the set 21-16.
The 2nd set would see another early Sibayan lead, 9-3, over Patrick Natividad. The strategy of Coach Owen Lopez seemed to work until this time. During the break, Coach Kennevic stressed to the King Eagle to stay in the middle of the court to be able to return low drops and high lobs from Sibayan. After the break, Natividad would be much quicker than Sibayan, limiting Sibayan to just 7 points, in tying the match up at 1-1 with a score of 21-17.
For the deciding set of this match-up, again, just like in the 1st two sets, Sibayan would execute the same strategy over Natividad. It was a well-executed game plan by Coach Owen Lopez. Moreover, the strengths of the lanky Natividad was negated by the sheer wit of Gerald Sibayan. Sibayan would again start the match with an 11-5 lead. The King Eagle would try to make mini-spurts with a combination of Sibayan errors and excellent returns. There would be no comeback however as Sibayan would avenge his singles loss to Natividad from the 2nd day of the tournament to win the deciding set 21-17 and giving DLSU a 1-0 lead over ADMU.
Aggregate Score: Sibayan 59 — P. Natividad 55
Total Match Time: 65 mins
Men’s Singles Match 2: John Kenneth Monterubio (DLSU) def. Carlo Glenn Remo (ADMU); 2:1
DLSU 2 – 0 ADMU
John Kenneth Monterubio faced-off against ADMU’s Carlo Remo, the #1 ranked shuttler in the U19 division. Kenneth Monterubio’s pace during the 1st set was slow and steady. He would take advantage of various return errors from Carlo Remo. After being down by just a point to Monterubio during the 11th point break of the 1st set, Remo would commit a string of various return errors that would halt any momentum he had. Monterubio would take the 1st set 21-16.
The string of errors from Carlo Remo would continue until the start of the 2nd set. Kenneth Monterubio would lead the 2nd set 10-5 early on. Carlo Remo would be a different shuttler after the break. In a surprising turn of events, Remo would utilize his smash, a skill set from his that was rarely seen throughout the tournament. He would tie the game at 14-all before blowing the game away with a 21-16 to pump more life to the Ateneo effort.
Finding his momentum, Carlo Remo would start-off the deciding set going point-for-point for Monterubio. With a bigger and more vocal Ateneo contingent, compared to the De La Salle crowd, John Kenneth Monterubio tried to draw his strength from the jeers of the Blue Babble Battalion in the 3rd set. The game would be tied at 9-all before a more animated Monterubio would find his momentum. Monterubio and Remo would be tied at 14-all before a Remo shot was deemed out by the umpire to extend the Monterubio lead to 15-14. A fired-up Monterubio would turn directly into the crowd to emphasize that the shot went astray. The game has already hit the 70th minute mark with Monterubio holding on to 20-17 lead. Remo would make a final push before succumbing to a 21-19 victory for John Kenneth Monterubio. The defending champions now have their backs against the wall.
Aggregate Score: Monterubio 58 – Remo 56
Total Match Time: 74 mins
Men’s Doubles Match 1: Carlos Antonio Cayanan and Patrick Sibayan (DLSU) def. Justin Wilbert Natividad and Patrick Wilfred Cayanan (ADMU); 2:0
DLSU 3 – 0 ADMU (DLSU wins)
The defending champions from the UAAP season 76 tournament now have their backs against their wall. The Hail Mary team from Katipunan should now sweep their next 3 matches to fight another day. It was not meant to be however. Behind the pairing of Escueta and Magnaye of NU, the doubles team of the athletic Carlos Cayanan and the imposing Patrick Sibayan are the 2nd best pairing in this tournament. They proved it in a masterful performance in the complete domination of the Natividad siblings. The pair from Taft Avenue would win both sets with scores of 21-17 and 21-13. In both sets, Cayanan and Sibayan worked in perfect harmony displaying great defense and offense. Both Justin and Patrick Natividad were clearly fatigued from playing both days, with Patrick playing almost 2 and a half hours of total court time during the weekend. The deciding point in the 2nd and deciding set was scored by Patrick Sibayan with an emphatic smash followed by his trademark WA-CHA to the delight of the DLSU crowd.
Aggregate Score: Sibayan and Cayanan 42 – P. Natividad and J. Natividad 30
Total Match Time: 24 mins
With this elimination, the King Eagle, Patrick Natividad, has played his final UAAP game. It was an amazing UAAP run which included last year’s championship. The King Eagle, alone in court 4 of the Rizal Memorial Badminton Hall, took a look at the hall and the crowd, serenaded with Ateneo’s school hymn and reflected on 5 years of joys and tears.
There will be new champions in this season’s Men’s Badminton Tournament of the UAAP with the elimination of the Blue Shuttlers. The De La Salle Green Shuttlers would now face the unbeaten National University Bulldogs. They would have to beat the Bulldogs thrice to win the coveted crown.