Season hosts University of Santo Tomas Lady Shuttlers duplicated their male counterparts’ comeback win as they upended the Far Eastern University Lady Tamaraws, 3-2, and resuscitated their post-season dreams, Wednesday at the Rizal Memorial Badminton Hall.
Michal Duquilla started it off for the Lady Tams by making quick work of Angelic Panotes, 21-2, 21-11, in the first singles match. The top-seeded FEU player showed her superior skills throughout the match to school the UST sophomore in 22 minutes of play.
But it was then Airish Macalino’s turn to dominate in the second singles match. The fourth-year Tomasina was impressive in her 21-12, 21-13 drubbing of Irish Molina. Macalino, who has steadily improved as Season 79 goes by, showed flashes of smart plays along with her hard hits to win the match.
Duquilla and Maridel Rivera got the lead once again for FEU in the first doubles match. It was a tight opening game, as the FEU’s #1 pair faced UST’s top duo in Macalino and Steffi Aquino. FEU registered game point at 20-all, but a weak return from the Lady Tams turned to a smash for Aquino to force a deuce. Nonetheless, Duquilla and Rivera closed out the game with impressive placement shots, 22-20.
It was domination for the Green and Gold in the next game as they got it by a more comfortable, 21-11 margin.
Kristine Gaspar and Elizabeth Pimentel finally stepped up and won their first UAAP match, just as UST needed a reprieve. They won the second doubles match against Molina and Klowie Garcia in an edge-of-your-seat 22-20, 23-21 decision.
In both games, FEU took the initiative, as their opponents succumbed to habitual errors. The Thomasian pair, however, found their bearings in the middle portions of either game, and eventually pulled out the crucial points to get the games and the match.
UST team captain Aquino and FEU fourth-year Rivera then faced off to dispute the tie.
After 21 minutes of intense battle, Aquino emerged with a 21-15, 21-18 win in the deciding singles match. The lanky Tomasina cruised past the opening game as she went aggressive against the Lady Tam.
Rivera threatened to force a final frame in the decider after leading at 13-6, but Aquino had other plans. A series of offensive drops, hard hits, and occasional FEU errors put the UST skipper ahead at 16-14. Aquino then seized control of the match from then on and put UST back in the winning column with a match-ending smash.
The Tigresses (3-3) face the Ateneo de Manila University Lady Blue Shuttlers (4-2) on Saturday, September 30, at 1pm. UST need a win to get at least a playoff for a semifinals slot.