Just like last year, the Ateneo de Manila University Lady Eagles extend their campaign after Trixie Malibiran came out with a rousing win over Iyah Sevilla, taking down the De La Salle University Lady Shuttlers at 3-2, Friday afternoon at the Rizal Memorial Badminton Hall.
It was a toss up in the first four matches as Ateneo and La Salle equally split the pairings.
Bianca Carlos remained unstoppable in singles play after waylaying Nicole Albo in just two sets in the first singles match at 21-14, 21-12.
It was a complete opposite of the qualifying round match wherein the returning La Sallian proved to be a tough opponent to the Queen Eagle. In the day’s match, however, Carlos was in cruise control right of the bat.
Arianne Rivera carved a similar win, but for La Salle. The third-year player had to survive Ateneo captain Cassie Lim in the first set at 21-17. Nonetheless, the former zoomed past the latter to equalize the tie at 21-13.
Isay Leonardo and Albo then grabbed the advantage for La Salle. The two national team standouts easily took the first set, but Geva De Vera and Malibiran picked up the pace to take the second at 21-18.
Nonetheless, playing more composed this time, the Lady Archers survived the Ateneo duo and took the third at 21-17.
That was La Salle’s last shot at the target as Ateneo flew high in the next two matches.
Carlos and last year’s top rookie Chanelle Lunod made short work of Iyah Sevilla and Lindsay Tercias in the second doubles match. The Blue and White tandem executed perfectly en route to a 21-11, 21-15 win setting the stage for Malibiran’s heroics.
The graduating Lady Eagle leaned on her baseline play and swift counters to take the opening set at 22-20 after Sevilla picked a pair of errors. The La Salle junior then made amends and scored on drops to level the match at 21-17.
Malibiran looked to pull away with an 11-4 interval before Sevilla persevered and eventually came to within two of sealing a Finals seat at 19-17.
Instead what happened was sheer determination for Malibiran. An exchange of deuces, hits, and errors marked the tailed of the third, but the senior Lady Eagle prevailed at 23-21 in the decider as she extended her UAAP career and Katipunan-based squad lived to fight another day.
Malibiran and the Lady Eagles will face the Lady Archers once again on Saturday, October 14 at 1pm, for the right to face the University of the Philippines Lady Maroons in the Finals.