After the qualifying round, the University of the Philippines men’s badminton team find themselves in a similar situation as last season.
The Fighting Maroons accomplished part of their road to the Finals as they drubbed the De La Salle University Green Shuttlers, 4-1, and secured the twice-to-beat advantage in the semifinals, Thursday morning at the Rizal Memorial Badminton Hall.
Designated opener JM Bernardo kept his unblemished singles record clean after taking down the challenge of Andrew Pineda, 21-17, 21-18. The La Sallian took advantage of some errors from the Maroon standout in the middle portions of the match, but Bernardo showed composure towards the end of the games.
Vinci Manuel attempted to get UP’s second of the day, but he came up short after pocketing the first game at 21-16. Glenn Camillo stunned the Maroon co-skipper to level the tie at one match, taking the next two games at 21-13, 21-12.
Nonetheless, with their doubles pairs slowly peaking, the Maroons just needed to let it out in the court.
Bernardo and his captain CK Clemente stunned Cayel Pajarillo and Jerickson Obaob in two 21-15 games to take the first doubles match. The UP skipper showed that he was getting the hang of two-versus-two play, working well with the second-year player Bernardo throughout the match.
The clinchers Paul Gonzales and Roberto Pineda then did their job after fending off Bee Monterubio and Michael Saragena in two games. The UP duo sealed the semis berth and the inclusive twice-to-beat bonus, taking the match at 21-15, 21-18.
Clemente then closed out the day with a three-set decision past Pajarillo at 15-21, 21-12, 21-11.
The Fighting Maroons (5-1) will await the survivor of the playoffs among La Salle, Ateneo de Manila University, and the University of Santo Tomas — all the latter three finished at 3-3. The Green Shuttlers will face the Ateneo Blue Eagles in the first of such knockout ties as they dispute the number four seed on Saturday, October 7 at 8am.