The University of the Philippines Lady Maroons maintain their clean slate heading to their UAAP Season 77 Finals rematch against the Ateneo Lady Eagles.
In their penultimate game of the regular season, the defending champions blasted the National University Lady Bulldogs in a 5-0 sweep, Saturday afternoon at the Rizal Memorial Badminton Hall in Manila City.
Lady Maroon team captain Bea Bernardo was the opener for the Lady Maroons while Kezziah Cuilao opened for the Sampaloc-based shuttlers. Bernardo clearly was on another plane compared to her opponent as Bernardo needed just 18 minutes to dispatch her opponent. After an 11-7 Bernardo lead,during the interval, the Lady Maroon outpowered her opponent in a 7-2 rally. The UP captain took the first set 21-11. In the second set, a hapless Cuilao could not gain any momentum going in scoring just four points in the set as Bernardo took the game 21-4.
Sophomore Mary Ann Maranon continued the Lady Maroon romp as she also only allowed her opponent, Mitzi Pantoja, just four points in the first set. Maranon continued the UP assault in the second set as she was able to gain an 11-4 lead heading into the break. Maranon, though took a much-needed breather, that resulted to Pantoja putting up a rally of her own to cut the Maranon lead to just a solitary point. The crafty Maranon then took charge once more in taking over the court as she took UP’s second game 21-15.
Long-time doubles partners proved to be unbeatable as last year’s MVP Jessie Francisco once again teamed up with Inlayo. The NU tandem of Marinel Diansay and Jiselle Capillo was able to keep pace with the decorated UP team as they were able to get a 10-all score. However, the familiarity and experience of the UP duo showed as the two were able to defend all corners in a 10-1 blast to break the set, 21-12. The UP duo did not let up in the second set as they were able to gain a huge 17-7 lead at one point in the match. Francisco was able to secure the win with a drop, 21-10, to give UP its sixth win in six outings.
In the second doubles match, the NU tandem of Loverly Magallano and Jhayvin Dizon put up a good fight against Bernardo and Elisha Ongcuangco. After a dominant outing by the UP team in the first set, 21-11, the Sampaloc-based duos team fought back in the second set. Magallano and Dizon were able to take advantage of constant errors by the Lady Maroons. They were able to gain a 19-12 lead. The Lady Maroon tandem though continued to fight back to cut the NU lead to just a solitary point 20-19. However, an erroneous return gave the Lady Bulldogs their first set of the game 21-19.The Diliman duo were able to regain their bearings in the final set. Bernardo and Ongcuangco did not let up as their lead grew to a set-high seven points, 17-10, before eventually taking their fourth game, 21-14.
This year’s super rookie Lea Inlayo was once again the designated closer for the Diliman lady shuttlers while Jiselle Capillo anchored for National U. Capillo was able to open with a 7-5 lead. Inlayo, able to get her feet warm midway, was able to regain the lead 11-10 entering the interval. After Capillo was able to tie the game at 11-all, the Diliman rookie was able to string together an 8-1 blitz to gain the lead 19-12 before eventually taking the first set, 21 -14. It was all Inlayo in the second set as the NU upstart was only able to gain points from errand returns by Inlayo. Inlayo won the set, 21-9, and was able to gain another sweep for UP.