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UAAP 86 Badminton: Ateneo completes elims sweep; UST claims last bus ride to Final Four


ATENEO de Manila University extended its winning streak to 22 games by defeating rival University of the Philippines 3-2 at the close of the qualifying round of the UAAP Season 86 Women’s Badminton tournament on Wednesday at the Centro Atletico Badminton Center.

The defending three-time champions Blue Eagles completed an elimination sweep with a 5-0 record, moving to the top of the standings heading into the Final Four.

Meanwhile, the Fighting Maroons suffered their second loss of the season to fall as the third seed.

Reigning MVPs Mika De Guzman and Jochelle Alvarez led Ateneo to victory, winning their second doubles match against Patricia De Dios and Tricia Opon, 21-8, 21-18.

“It was a hard-fought battle; don’t let the scores fool you. All points were well-earned, and we were just happy to take the win. We will not take anyone for granted on Friday because we try to give our best every single time,” said Ateneo assistant coach Roy Callanta.

Alvarez and De Guzman gave the four-peat-seeking Blue Eagles a comfortable 2-0 lead with wins in the first two singles matches.

Alvarez, a second-year upstart, dominated Aldreen Concepcion 21-6, 21-12, while Smash Pilipinas standout De Guzman handed last year’s Rookie of the Year, Anthea Gonzalez, her first loss in the UAAP, 21-11, 21-14.

Gonzalez, however, teamed up with Susmita Ramos to maintain their unbeaten run in the doubles play this season, defeating Missy Cervantes and Angel Valle with a comfortable 21-12, 21-14 victory putting the Fighting Maroons on the board.

Ramos closed the tie in UP’s favor with a 21-15, 21-16 victory over Valle in the final singles match.

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The Blue Eagles will face University of Santo Tomas in the Final Four, as the latter finished the elimination round with a 4-1 record against De La Salle University.

Both the battle between Ateneo and UST and the tussle between NU and UP are scheduled for Friday at 1 p.m. at the same Cubao venue, with the winners advancing to Sunday’s Final.

Co-captain Rhafi Anne Santos led the Tiger Shuttlers to their first semifinal appearance since Season 75, ending her day with a 21-10, 21-16 collaborative win with Jennifer Saladaga over Coleen Dedicatoria and Shayne Boloron.

Santos had previously put UST in the lead with a stunning 21-17, 21-15 win over Palma Cruz in the first singles match, before leading Rookie of the Year candidate Patricia De Leon staged a comeback against Mia Manguilimotan with a score of 22-24, 21-13, 21-16 in the following singles rubber.

“Hindi po talaga ko nag-si-singles talaga pero inilaban ko po. Ang ginawa ko lang talaga ay one point at a time,” said Santos.

“Iba po talaga ‘yung feeling na nag-Final Four kami after so many years. Ang mindset namin ngayon pagkatapos makarating sa Final Four ay mabalik sa podium ang UST,” the sophomore shuttler from Marikina City added.

De Leon and Marielle Alvarez then put the Tiger Shuttlers on the verge of a sweep with a 21-9, 21-12 win over Cruz and Manguilimotan, but Ghizelle Bautista prevented a shutout for the Lady Archers with a 16-21, 21-19, 21-13 reverse sweep of Charlize Belen.

On the other hand, National University defeated Adamson University with a 4-1 victory to take the second seed.

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Senior stalwarts Jeya Pinlac and Ysabel Aurora secured the win for the Lady Bulldogs with a 21-18, 21-13 victory over Katherine Dulay and Justine Barasona in the second doubles match, while skipper Sarah Barredo and Lee-Ann De Leon suffered an upset from Graziel Cabriga and Camille Buagas, 14-21, 21-14, 11-21, in the earlier doubles rubber.

DLSU ended in fifth place with a 1-4 win-loss record, while Adamson finished winless at 0-5 in sixth place.

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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