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Tiebreaker Times

Lady Bulldogs close ‘miracle season’ with demolition of UE

After going winless in the previous year, the National University Lady Bulldogs ended UAAP Season 78 the way they started it as they quashed University of the East Lady Warriors, Sunday, at the Rizal Memorial Badminton Hall.

The Sampaloc-based squad started their sweep with a straight games victory of Marinel Diansay in the first singles over UE’s Lyra Rosal. The NU rookie emerged from a tight battle in the early part of the first game and never looked back. It was actually Rosal who took the lead at the break, 11–8, before Diansay took control of the frame. After the interval, NU kept UE at bay by limiting the latter to single points while stringing up a couple or more. The Lady Bulldog took the first game, 21–17. Diansay continued her momentum in the following game playing more inspired. Rosal attempted to keep up with Diansay after cutting the deficit at two, 13–15. However, NU would have enough of the chase and finished off the match with six unanswered points, 21–13.

Lyra’s sister, Heide would make a better account of herself in the second singles match. However, the usual opener for the Lady Warriors dropped a three-game decision to NU’s Joselle Capillo. The NU upstart took care of business from the get-go of the first game and never looked back. Capillo also managed to limit the production of Heide Rosal to romp off with the first game, 21–14. It was a different story in the following game as UE emerged victorious at the end of this gruelling canto. Rosal and Capillo never gave their opponents a chance almost throughout the match as they answered each other’s runs. Capillo pulled away near the tail end of the game to get to within two of wrapping up the match, 19–16. However, Heide Rosal had other plans as she strung up a 4–0 run to get to game point. After Capillo saved the first game point, UE took back-to-back points to force a deciding game. The Lady Bulldog made sure she will get the victory after the final frame went the same route as the first, which she also won. Indeed, Capillo took the lead at the back, held off Rosal, and clinched the match at an identical 21–14 score line.

With just one match separating them from the victory, the Lady Bulldogs closed it out in the first doubles. Veteran Loverly Magallano paired up with Jhayuin Dizon to secure the win for NU in straight games against Eryca Labay and Pamela Fernandez. Magallano and Dizon gained control of the first game after a huge 7–0 blitz before and after the interval to lead 14–10. The UE duo slowly crept into the lead and cut the deficit to two, 17–19. That two-point cushion, however, was enough for the Blue and Gold to get the first game, 21–19. The second game was an entirely different story as the Lady Bulldogs smelled blood after leading at an even bigger 14–4 gap extending after the ceasefire. That huge lead proved to be overwhelming for the Recto-based paired as Magallano and Dizon took the game, the match, and the second win for NU, 21–9.

Playing for pride and with no pressure, the Rosal sisters played against their tormentors with a lot of energy in the second doubles match. Nonetheless, Diansay and Capillo made sure they swept the day’s matches, at least, in their own individual records. The NU tandem proved something in the opening game of the match after quashing the siblings, 21–13. After a tight battle at the start of the frame, the Lady Bulldogs stopped UE in their run and ended the frame with a 4–0 run. In the second game, it was the turn of Heide and Lyra to mount a huge run. Another close outing ensued until the tail end of the game, where the Rosals blitzed to six unanswered points to force the decider, 21–13. If the first two games were indications that the one who mounts a strong run will win the game, Diansay and Capillo proved that and walked away with the win. The NU pair mounted a 7–0 binge that was enough to propel them to win the match, 21–14.

The veteran Magallano completed the rout for NU after dismantling UE rookie Riella Dilla in just 15 minutes on court. In the first game, the Lady Bulldog standout pulled away in the middle portion with a huge 9–0 run to put it out of reach. Magallano then romped to a 6–0 blitz to end the game, 21–5. NU continued to roll in the following game and did not let up against Dilla. Another nine-point binge in the same part of the second frame was enough to put on the finishing touches to this win for her team, 21–6.

With the win, the Lady Bulldogs ended their season at 2–5 in 6th place, which is their best-ever finish in their young participation record in UAAP women’s badminton. Meanwhile, UE absorbed a winless season.

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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