Super senior Keeyan Gabuelo steered reigning, five-peat National University to a rousing UAAP Season 82 Men’s Badminton debut, dominating Ateneo, 4-1, Friday at the Centro Atletico Badminton Center.
Gabuelo, a native of Bacoor, Cavite, dominated Ateneo senior Keoni Asuncion in the first singles match to open the rout for the Bulldogs. Gabuelo needed just 35 minutes to stop Asuncion, 21-15, 21-16.
Solomon Padiz Jr. then doubled the lead for National U with a close 23-21, 22-20 decision over Arthur Salvado.
Rookies James Villarante and July Villabrille pocketed the squad’s 44th straight win after taking down Asuncion and Fides Bagasbas in just two games, 21-15, 21-13. Gabuelo and Thirdy Bacalso made it 4-0 in the following doubles match with a sweep before Bagasbas salvaged one for the Blue Eagles over Bacalso.
Gabuelo believes that despite the departure of five key players due to graduation, the Bulldogs have what it takes to continue their dominance.
“Syempre, goal talaga is yung six-peat. Nandito na rin lang kami sa five-peat, kahit nawala yung lima, ta-try pa rin namin makuha,” he said.
La Salle, on the other hand, climbed to the top of the standings after a masterful win over University of the East, 4-1.
Using seven different players this time, the Green Shuttlers opened the day with a win from captain Jan Mangubat over Christian Garcia. The returning standout impressed with a 21-13, 21-14 victory. UE’s Angelo David, however, tied it up after taking down Clark Golez at 21-9, 21-17.
Nonetheless, the two doubles matches went La Salle’s way to finally seal the win. Both Green Shuttlers duo swept their opponents in just two games. Eljee Gavile and Bless Linaban crashed Chez Zarsuelo and Christian Reyes, 21-10, 21-7, before Yugin Tan and Joshua Morado outlasted Jireh Ortega and David, 21-16, 21-18.
The other match-up saw University of Santo Tomas take their first win of the season in dramatic fashion at the expense of Adamson University after rookie Lanz Ramirez took one for the side over senior Kevin Fabros in the deciding singles match, 21-17, 21-16.
It was actually the Soaring Falcons who took the lead at 2-1 with Elbren Concha taking two wins in the first singles and first doubles matches. The fifth-year shuttler took down Jerone Balong at 21-11, 21-12, before he partnered with Johnrick Macabenta to dominate the Peralta twins, Erick and Henry, in two sets.
UST leveled the tie with Russel Enriquez and Josh Defensor winning against Fabros and David Libanan in two games to set up the decider, 21-17, 21-13.
Sean Dela Cruz put the Tiger Shuttlers on the board first with a 21-15, 21-7 win over Linaban.
Story by Aeron Valderama
Photo by Mia Montayre