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On a roll: Lady Maroons blast Lady Warriors for fifth straight

Defending champions University of the Philippines Lady Maroons overpowered winless University of the East Lady Warriors in 11 games

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Five out of five; fourteen straight

Defending champions University of the Philippines Lady Maroons overpowered the winless University of the East Lady Warriors in 11 games, 5–0, to remain unscathed and virtually clinching their third straight postseason appearance, Sunday afternoon at the Rizal Memorial Badminton Hall.

Using this tie as a way for their players to get experience for tougher battles ahead, the Lady Maroons started with Team Captain Bea Bernardo in the first singles match. The third-year standout blasted Heidi Rosal in just two sets. After losing a point at the start of the first set, Bernardo romped to a gigantic 12-point run extending past the interval. Rosal executed two effective drop shots after the ceasefire, but that was just it, as the Maroon took the game, 21–3. The second set was no different, however Bernardo did concede more points to Rosal. In the end, UP took the game, 21–6.

Ann Marañon nabbed UP’s second win of the day as she exacted a similar whitewashing of Heidi’s sister, Lyra, in the second singles match. Two huge scoring binges at the start of the match fuelled the last year’s top rookie to get the lead at the break, 11–3. Rosal cut into the deficit after the interval, but the lead was just too big to surpass. UP clinched the first set, 21–7. Continuing her momentum in the following set, Marañon, once again mounted an insurmountable cushion into the break. The lead was enough for the Lady Maroons to finish off the match, 21–5.

The tandem of reigning Most Valuable Player, Jessie Francisco, and rookie Lea Inlayo clinched the tie for the Lady Maroons against Erycka Labay and Pamela Fernandez in 20 minutes. After a tight start in the first set, The UP duo romped five straight points to lead 11–4 at the interval. Labay and Fernandez attempted to keep in step and trailed by just seven, 6–13. From there, Inlayo and Francisco never looked back to breeze past UE, taking the opening set, 21–7. In the following set, the Maroons secured another huge seven-point run in the middle portion to hold a comfortable lead. UP took the second set and the match, 21–10.

After passing her UAAP singles debut in style, Jeline Masongsong paired up with batchmate Marina Caculitan in the second doubles match of the day. The sophomore tandem faced off against the Rosal sisters in two games before dismantling the latter in the final game. Unlike the three previous matches, the first game was as tight as it could get before the Lady Warriors took a slim 11–10 lead at the break. The tussle continued after the interval, before UE got within two points of taking the frame, 19–17. However, Heidi and Lyra could not get the job done as UP snatched the game with a four-point swing, 21–19. The Recto-based pair bounced back in the following frame, and romped their way to an 11–6 lead at the interval. The Rosals threatened to finish off the game, but UP had other plans and registered a late rally to cut the deficit to one. But UE would not be denied of the win when took the final point, and their only acquired set, 21–19. Caculitan and Masongsong put the pedal on the metal in the deciding game to deny an upset, as they scattered several scoring runs to easily take the frame, 21–11.

After taking a day off in playing singles match the previous day, Inlayo bounced back big time to complete the sweep for the reigning titlists in a comprehensive two-game victory over Labay. Similar to what happened in the second match of the tie, Inlayo rolled on to lead, 11–1 into the break and continued her rampage to get the first game, 21–4. The Lady Warrior tried to recover and kept in step against the national junior player, trailing by just 3, 9–12 at the middle of the game. The Maroons rookie, however, strung seven consecutive points and finished the game off, 21–11.

The reigning UAAP champions Lady Maroons will take on a fighting National University squad on Saturday, October 3; while the Lady Warriors will attempt to clinch a win against second-running De La Salle University in the same day.

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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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