Showing their mettle, the University of the Philippines Lady Maroons dispatched the Adamson University Lady Falcons in 10 straight games and hiked their winning record to 4–0, Saturday afternoon at the Rizal Memorial Badminton Hall.
Team captain Bea Bernardo set the tone for UP as she blanked Adamson senior Mikaela Aquino in 27 minutes of court time. It was Aquino who took the upper hand into the first game break, 11–10, as the third-year Lady Maroon could not find her groove at the start of the match. However, when Bernardo mounted a four-point run to grab the lead, shook of Aquino’s challenge at 14–all, and closed the game on a 7–1 burst, 21–15. In the second game, the UP skipper strung run after run to lead as high as 17. Aquino scored three more, but the lead was just so overpowering. Bernardo closed out the match, 21–5.
Last year’s Rookie of the Year Ann Marañon followed this up with another short work of Clydel Pada in the second singles match. In the first game, the sophomore clipped Pada to get to the break ahead 11–6. After the interval, Marañon romped to a ten-point binge, while limiting Pada to just three, to finish off the game, 21–9. Similarly, the Lady Maroon mounted another advantage at the break that she never relinquished. Pada tried to chip into the lead, but Marañon kept the game and the match out of reach, 21–10.
The reigning Most Valuable Player Jessie Francisco and Rookie of the Year top candidate Lea Inlayo proved that the Lady Maroons mean business going into the tie and clinched the victory in 21 minutes, 21–8 21–10. Adamson veterans Christine Garin and Marge Villacorta kept it close in the opening rallies of the first game, before Francisco and Inlayo blew the game open and led by as much as 13, 20–7. In the following set, the Lady Maroons held a strong 5–0 start until the Lady Falcons made their move. A solid surge in the middle portion of the game sealed the deal for UP, despite small spurts from Garin and Villacorta.
UP captains Bernardo and Elisha Ongcuangco held their fort in the tie’s longest match in the second doubles over Aquino and Pada. Visibly warmed up from their corresponding singles matches, the Adamson duo kept the first game as close as it could get before the Maroons got the upper hand at the break. The tussle continued until a five-point run for the UP tandem pushed them to clinch the game, 21–15. The Falcons stayed with Bernardo and Ongcuangco at the similar stage in the second game. However, like the previous game, a scoring run from the Lady Maroons provided enough cushion for them to secure the game. UP swept Adamson in the match by winning 21–12 in the final game.
Even Jeline Masongsong joined the party with a similar 2–0 rampage over Garin in the final singles. The second-year Maroon, who played her very first UAAP match, disposed of the Adamson veteran after a close first game. Masongsong held on to an 11–7 lead into the interval and pushed it to 18–12. Consecutive miscues form the relative newbie and veteran smarts for Garin tied the game at 18. The Lady Falcon forced another error from UP to wrestle the lead. However, Masongsong pulled through to take the game, 21–19. Using her learnings from training and proving the heart of a champion, the Lady Maroon released a rousing win in the following game to end her UAAP debut. Masongsong mounted two huge leads over Garin, 12–4 and 19–7, before subsequently finishing the match at 21–10.
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