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Lunod, De Vera steer Ateneo past UP to book Final Four ticket

Defending UAAP Women’s Badminton champion Ateneo de Manila University bagged the first of the Final Four berths after taking down University of the Philippines, 4-1, Tuesday at Centro Atletico Badminton Center.

Last year’s co-MVPs Chanelle Lunod and Geva De Vera remained dominant so far as they won their respective singles matches and their own doubles match.

Lunod flexed her muscles against Jaja Andres in the first singles match at 21-15, 21-10, before teaming up with De Vera in toppling Pauline Santos and Marie Lopez in the first doubles rubber at 21-10, 21-3.

For her part, De Vera wrapped up the day with a tight 21-18, 21-18 battle over Airish Macalino in the final singles match.

Rookie Aldreen Concepcion bagged one for the Lady Maroons in the second singles match over fellow newbie Mika De Guzman in a marathon 78-minute tussle at 26-24, 18-21, 26-24.

Nonetheless, De Guzman made amends by winning the second doubles match and eventually the tie over Andres and Tricia Opon, 21-13, 21-9, along with Qianxi Orillaneda.

“Yun yung nagustuhan ko about the team, nagsasaluhan kami. ‘Pag may natalo, babawi,” said Lunod about De Guzman’s loss, which was the first for Ateneo this season.

The loss, we don’t take it as a weakness. We just want to focus on the good side na kahit natalo yung isa sa ‘min, we were still able to get the team tie,” she continued as Ateneo cruised to their fourth straight win while dropping UP to 3-1.

In the other pairings, National University and De La Salle University also made strides for their semis hopes after taking down University of Santo Tomas and University of the East, respectively.

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The Lady Bulldogs emerged unfazed of the challenge from the Golden Shuttlers, taking a 4-1 win with Sarah Barredo and Jiselle Capillo going perfect for the day.

Last year’s Rookie of the Year Barredo took down rookie Kristeen Geronimo at 21-28, 21-17, while her captain Capillo closed the day with an 11-21, 21-10, 21-8 win over Elij Pena.

The two earlier clinched the third win for NU after manhandling Samantha Chozas and Therese Tumbali, 21-9, 21-10. Rookie Kate Amigable bagged the second singles match over Stephanie Mortera to put the Bulldogs at 2-0, 10-21, 21-14, 21-18.

Mortera and Geronimo bucked fatigue to take one for UST at 21-9, 19-21, 21-12 over Jeya Pinlac and Andria Songcuan in the second doubles match.

UST fell to 2-3.

On the other hand, the Lady Shuttlers kept the also-ran Lady Red Warriors winless with another 5-0 blanking.

Iyah Sevilla and Mia Manguilimotan took the first two singles matches for La Salle at 21-8, 21-11, and 21-7, 21-2, over Patrice Reyes and Kessara Palot, respectively. Shayne Boloran and May Minuluan pocketed the win afterward, sweeping Justine Amposta and Reyes, 21-10, 21-9 in the first doubles match.

Katrina Togado and Angelika Paz made their UAAP debut count with a two-set win over Palot and Graziel Cabriga at 21-12, 21-19, before Kanna Baba completed the sweep with a 21-15, 21-17 upending of Cabriga.

NU, La Salle, and UP ended the round tied at second with identical 3-1 slates.

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