The core-four of Michal Dei Duquilla, Thea Pomar, Hannah Tudtud and Maridel Rivera dodged another elimination game in an emotional series against the De La Salle University Lady Shuttlers. This series would include a classic ironman match-up between Alyssa Leonardo and Thea Pomar that took 70 minutes to finish.
Women’s Singles Match 1: Michal Dei Duquilla (FEU) def. Danica San Ignacio (DLSU); 2:0
DLSU 0 – 1 FEU
The 1st set of the first match of the knockout game for 3rd saw Michal Dei Duquilla take a huge 13-6 lead over Danica San Ignacio. The length of San Ignacio would help her in cutting the lead of Duquilla to just a solitary point with excellent saves. San Ignacio would take a 19-16 lead over her opponent before Duquila would make a rally to tie things up at 19-all. Duquilla would cap-off her come back with a close to out score to give her the set 21-19.
Danica San Ignacio would be given a warning by umpire Reynaldo for continuous complaining that delayed the game to start the 2nd set. Tilted, San Ignacio would fall to an early 11-6 deficit. During the break, Coach Lopez reminded San Ignacio to keep her composure and calm herself down. With those words of encouragement, San Ignacio would regain her form and used her length in connecting with various drops to tie the game at 16-all. The game would go to advantage points but it was Michal Dei Duquilla who would take the 2nd set 22-20.
Aggregate Score: Duquilla 43 – San Ignacio 39
Total Match Time: 45 mins
Women’s Singles Match 2: Thea Marie Pomar (FEU) def. Alyssa Isabel Leonardo (DLSU); 2:1
DLSU 0 – 2 FEU
The match between Thea Pomar and Alyssa Leonardo was the all-important match that would either give the FEU Lady Tamaraws a comfortable 2-0 lead or give DLSU a 1-all tie in match wins.
The 1st game was a heated contest for both shuttlers. Leonardo would start with an early 5 point rally to gain a 10-7 lead over Thea Pomar. Pomar would counter with 6 straight excellent returns to grab a 16-13 lead. With the game tied at 19, Pomar would close the game with two drops that were good to give her the set 21-19.
The start of the 2nd game saw both shuttlers go point-for-point in a tight affair. The game would be tied an unprecedented 12 times. With the game tied at 19, it was Alyssa Leonardo gaining the upper hand in the closing moments of the game, with two excellent returns to tie the match 21-19.
The Escoses-trained Thea Pomar would start the deciding set with a 9-5 lead. Both shuttlers were visibly exhausted at this point of the match with the game almost hitting the hour point. After an 11-8 lead by Pomar by the 11th point break, Alyssa Leonardo would take 13-12 lead before Pomar would again make another 4-0 rally. A string of errors would ensue from both shuttlers as the heat in the badminton hall and fatigue would become a factor. Thea Pomar would will her way in the last few rallies to win the match 21-18.
Aggregate Score: Pomar 61 – Leonardo 56
Total Match Time: 70 mins
Women’s Doubles Match 1: Aires Montilla and Kristelle Dawn Salatan (DLSU) def. Thea Pomar and Hannah Tudtud (FEU); 2:0
DLSU 1 – 2 FEU
With their backs against the wall, Coach Owen Lopez would have to rely on the tandems of Aires Montilla & Kristelle Salatan and Alyssa Leonardo & Danica San Ignacio, the 2 pairs that beat both doubles teams of ADMU just 7 days ago.
Montilla and Salatan would outclass the Lady Tamaraw pair in the 1st set in a blowout. The lady shuttlers from Taft would take an 11-5 lead enroute to a 21-13 victory to give them a 1-0 lead in the match-up. The 2nd set would be the same as Montilla and Salatan would jump to an early 11-4 lead. Thea Pomar and Hannah Tudtud would try to make a comeback, cutting the deficit to 11-14. Pomar and Tudtud would not be able to gain any momentum due to a string of errand returns in the set. Montilla and Salatan would take the set 21-15.
Aggregate Score: Montilla and Salatan 42 – Pomar and Tudtud 28
Total Match Time: 45 mins
Women’s Doubles Match 2: Alyssa Isabel Leonardo and Danica San Ignacio (DLSU) def. Michal Dei Duquilla and Maridel Rivera (FEU); 2:0
DLSU 2 – 2 FEU
The ever-stable pair of Alyssa Leonardo and Danica San Ignacio used their length against the athletic tandem of Duquilla and Rivera. After being down 8-5 in the early part of the 1st set, Leonardo and San Ignacio would utilize excellent court formations to string together 6 straight points to gain a 12-9 lead over the FEU tandem. They would never look back as Duquilla and Rivera would not have an answer for the length of the lady shuttlers from Taft to give up the game 21-15.
The next game saw Leonardo and San Ignacio continue to control the pace of the match-up. They would take an 11-4 lead by the 11th point break. The excellent set-up from Danica San Ignacio which would eventually lead to a Leonardo smash was the key for the Lady Archers. They would take the 2nd game 21-11 to set-up a do-or-die match-up between FEU’s Hannah Tudtud and Aires Montilla.
Women’s Singles Match 3: Hannah Tudtud (FEU) def. Aires Amor Montilla (DLSU); 2:0
DLSU 2 – 3 FEU
You could cut the tension in the air in the badminton hall of Rizal Memorial. The FEU contingent would bang their empty shuttlecock containers to the seats in support of Tudtud while the DLSU crowd would use those same containers and bang them onto to their water jugs to make a makeshift drum. It’s win or go home time for the FEU Lady Tamaraws and the DLSU Lady Shuttlers.
An aggressive Aires Montilla would start the set with an early 5-2 lead on excellent returns for her side. This was just a warm-up for the calm Hannah Tudtud. She would then blast her way to an 11-6 lead going to the break. The Tudtud storm would not end there as the lead would extend to 19 to 8 to the delight of Tudtud’s friends on the stands.
However, the shuttler from the FEU camp could not close-out the match. Slowly, Aires Montilla would chip into the Tudtud lead. Erroneous returns from Tudtud and excellent drops from Montilla would cut the lead to 20-18. A comeback for the ages was about to happen. The chants of Animo to the tune of Seven Nation Army filled the hall. Hannah Tudtud would not allow upset to happen. During the rally, Tudtud would be stone-faced and not fazed. She would blast a serve that would ricochet off of Montilla’s racket to win the set 21-18.
The 2nd set saw a demoralized Aires Montilla not able to respond to Tudtud’s rallies. It would never be close. With the Tudtud lead going to as high as 19-9, Tudtud’s teammates would go surround the court. 20-9. Tudtud would be heard saying “isa na lang!”. Her teammates would echo that statement. “Isa na lang! Isa na lang!” Hannah would then execute an excellent drop to seal the match. 21-9, the FEU Lady Tamaraws would live to fight another day!
Aggregate Score: Tudtud 42 – Montilla 27
Total Match Time: 27 mins
After the final point, Coach Escoses would run towards Hannah Tudtud, the savior of their season. Escoses, together with his team, would hug Tudtud and celebrate. In an interview with Coach Escoses, he told us that the goal of the team was simple, to take it day-by-day.
“Noong start ng season, habol lang namin maka-top 4. Noong isang araw, matalo lang UST. Kanina, top 3. Ngayon may pag-asa ng mag top 2.”