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Badminton

The Wait is Over: La Salle dethrones UP to regain Women’s Badminton tiara


It has been eight long years, and finally the UAAP women’s badminton title is back in the school nearest the playing venue.

Returning player Nicole Albo was the heroine, as she pulled through in the deciding match, upending Mary Ann Marañon to claim the crown for the De La Salle University Lady Archers, 3-2, Saturday afternoon at the Rizal Memorial Badminton Hall.

The Taft-based squad ceded the first singles match to Poca Alcala. The reigning MVP played with high intensity despite the challenge of Arianne Rivera, 22-20, 21-18.

Iyah Sevilla showed her resilience this time and fended off the momentum of Marina Caculitan in the following singles match, 20-22, 21-12, 21-18.

With the first doubles match turning crucial, graduating Isay Leonardo just wanted to get it done for the Green and White.

“Yun ‘yung maibabalik mo sa La Salle eh, ‘yung ibigay mo yung best mo sa game,” she said. “Tsaka syempre last ko ng laro sa UAAP.”

With that in mind, Leonardo and partner Albo carved a come-from-behind win past Alcala and Jessie Francisco, 21-23, 21-16, 21-17.

The defending champions, however, extended their reign, as UAAP 77 and 78 Rookies of the Year Marañon and Lea Inlayo quashed Sevilla and Lindsay Tercias in just two sets at 21-16, 21-10.

Battling fatigue and cramps, Albo then rose to the challenge and easily took care of Marañon in the first set of the deciding singles match, 21-11.

The UP co-captain showed some signs of life in the early part of the second set; nonetheless, Albo slowly pulled away before pulling the rag off the Fighting Maroons and sending the Lady Archers to the throne at 21-14.

#ReadMore  Philippines suffers first loss against powerhouse Indonesia

Leonardo was thrilled to exit the UAAP as a champion and shared that the biggest difference this time was, “Mas ginusto talaga naming manalo.”

That determination succeeded, as eight years of agony have finally ended.

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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