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NU Men’s Badminton Team: Sweetest championship yet

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The match of NU’s Paul Gonzales and Ros Pedrosa against La Salle’s Monterubio brothers sealed a second straight UAAP Men’s Badminton Championship for the National University.In the second Finals tie, a 22-20 third game win in the second doubles match completed NU’s sweep of Season 78. The tie was also their eighteenth consecutive win across UAAP seasons 77 and 78.

“Na eexcite kasi, unang-una gusto namin lahat mag-champion” was all Ros Pedrosa could say when asked what was going through his mind, with the championship point so near for NU.

For one of NU’s team leaders and Season 78 MVP Peter Magnaye, this victory was extra special since it could be the last time he could play in the UAAP. “Bago kumbaga, iniisip ko, sabi ko one last. Sabi ko sa sarili ko, sa lahat ng mga kasama ko, teammates ko, sabi ko last. Nandito na tayo. Hindi na natin kailangang bitawan.”

This was Magnaye’s third championship in the UAAP and second MVP award. His first championship was with UST, along with an MVP award, and his next two have been with NU. While Magnaye may have had a UAAP career filled with glory, he understood even in his last match that he wouldn’t be anywhere without his teammates. “Siguro hindi sa pagmamayabang talaga, lahat ng teammates ko may tiwala ako sa kanila. Kumbaga alam ko kilala ko silang lahat. Kumbaga alam kong magchachampion kami dahil sa kanila.” Magnaye then declared international competition will be his main focus now that his UAAP career is over.

Philippine Sports News - Tiebreaker Times NU Men's Badminton Team: Sweetest championship yet

Meanwhile, NU coach Jojo Mance was at a loss for words after the tie. Despite only mustering a few words, his elation was obvious, as NU’s latest triumph in Badminton left him and his players jumping for joy, splashing Gatorade and water on themselves and on the court.

Mance said that he had given his players freedom to prepare for Season 78, even allowing them to compete and train abroad as long as they remembered that everything they did was in preparation for the UAAP. However, training abroad also became a challenge; Mance pointed out that Magnaye could not compete in an international tournament despite being defending champion because of the UAAP. “Sabi ko you have to sacrifice. Most of the players are in the national pool and had to sacrifice dahil hindi sila nag-abroad para sa UAAP.”

With two straight championships under his belt, Mance has every reason to be proud of his players, especially in the second Finals tie. “Talagang pinaghandaan namin. Sobrang kuntento ako sa performance nila, although may isang talo pero talagang pinaglaban nang husto eh. Talagang satisfying lahat ng games.”

Even if the third game of Pedrosa and Gonzales versus the Monterubio brothers went down the wire, Mance admitted he felt the championship was close. “Sabi ko sana makuha na. Kasi nung una medyo hirap sina Ros at Paul eh. Na-pressure kami. Sabi ko basta isipin niyo no pressure. Kasi talagang kung atin yan, makukuha natin yan if ibibigay sa atin yan pero kailangan kunin niyo yan. Paghirapan niyo. Ilabas niyo lang yung laro niyo.”

Two straight championships in any sport will always make people thankful of others for what they achieved. Amidst all the emotion in what could have been his last UAAP appearance, Magnaye clearly knew who he was thankful for. “Siyempre masaya kumbaga blessings kay Lord. Kumbaga masaya sobra. Siguro sa lahat. Family ko, sa girlfriend ko, sa team, lahat. Hindi lang sa akin ito. Para rin sa nagmamahal sa akin.”

Philippine Sports News - Tiebreaker Times NU Men's Badminton Team: Sweetest championship yet

Likewise, Mance said “to God be the glory. Talagang may halong sobrang blessing.” Mance later gave a message to the NU community: “dedicated ito sa lahat ng taga-NU. This may serve as an inspiration to all students and players.”

In the aftermath of a dominant Season 78 for the NU Bulldogs, this could very well be their most gratifying UAAP Men’s Badminton Championship yet. Rest assured they’ll be raring to go in Season 79 as Pedrosa ominously declared, “Three-peat. Kakayanin”

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Lorenzo's a frustrated author who knows a thing or two about Football and Basketball. Went all green from Ortigas to Taft. Supports Liverpool FC, FC Bayern Munich and the Alaska Aces

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