Last year’s runners-up De La Salle University Green Shuttlers bounced back from their two straight setbacks against the league-leaders to reach even .500 record after clobbering University of Santo Tomas, 4-1, Saturday morning at the Rizal Memorial Badminton Hall.
Kenneth Monterubio opened the flood gates for La Salle with a two-game sweep of Criz Sanchez. In the first game, the fifth-year Green Shuttler overpowered the opponent with his smashes and control of the rallies to win it comfortably at 21-12.
It was a different story in the following game as Sanchez threatened at the middle part of the frame. The Thomasian took the lead as Monterubio’s aggressiveness resulted to errors. The Tiger took the game point at 20-18; nevertheless, the experience of his opponent at the other side prevailed. Monterubio got the frame and the 1-0 lead, 22-20.
Buoyed by his upset of NU’s Alvin Morada last Wednesday, Andrew Pineda waylaid Tiger Shuttlers’ senior Jan Sotea in two quick games, 21-10, 21-11. The DLSU sophomore only took 25 minutes to finish off the experienced Tiger as used his wide array of offense throughout the match.
The long-time pair of Paul Pantig and John Reyes took one for UST as they got the first doubles match, 21-17, 18-21, 21-14. Anton Cayanan and Jerickson Obaob shook the mettle of the tested duo and it was a battle royale in the first two games. Errors in the crucial stages of the deciding game took its toll on DLSU, as the Thomasians cut the tie deficit to one match.
The Monterubio brothers, Kenneth and Joshua, then stood their ground and stopped UST on their tracks. The siblings gifted the Green and White another victory with two 21-16 games in the second doubles match against Sotea and Kristian Barrios.
The La Salle played well both offensively and defensively in both games to stifle the power game of Barrios and Sotea’s command of the net.
Pantig begged off to play the final singles match because of leg muscle pain, conceding it in the process to Cayanan.
The Green Shuttlers face off against archrivals and fellow 2-2 team, Ateneo de Manila University Blue Shuttlers, in a crucial tiff with possible Final 4 implications. The Tiger Shuttlers (1-3), meanwhile, take on winless Adamson University Falcons (0-4).