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Defending champ La Salle dominates UST for bounce back; UP, Ateneo remain unscathed

Reigning champions De La Salle University Lady Shuttlers and nine-time queens University of the Philippines Lady Maroons posted convincing wins to end Day 4 of the UAAP season 81 badminton tournament, Sunday afternoon at the Rizal Memorial Badminton Hall.

La Salle picked up its second win in three ties, after trouncing the University of Santo Tomas Lady Shuttlers, 5-0.

In perhaps her best game after grabbing the UAAP 80 Most Valuable Player trophy, Nicole Albo showed her true form in a drubbing of UST rookie Steph Mortera in the first singles match. Her captain, Iyah Sevilla, the put La Salle at 2-0 with a dominant win past the opposing skipper Kate Tating.

Mortera and Anne Pimentel was in a prime position to take one back for UST after taking the first game of the first doubles match, but Lady Shuttlers’ frosh duo Kanna Baba and Angelika Paz summoned heart to take the next two sets and the tie win for the rubber court queens.

Sevilla and Albo took down Elij Pena and Tating in the second doubles match, before Baba boosted her Rookie of the Year stock with a two-setter past Pena.

La Salle captain Sevilla believes that the squad is still continuing to get their groove but are on track. “Nung first game namin, nag-aadjust pa kami, especially dun sa first doubles pairing. Pero feeling ko ready na kami sa next games,” she said.

With ties against two tough teams in Ateneo de Manila University and Adamson University done, the national team player also knew that her squad were toughened up ahead of battles with National University and UP. “For me, nothing is certain pa. But I have faith in my teammates, we have faith in our selves na ready na kami.”

Their Finals opponents from last year, the Fighting Maroons from Diliman, had a rather quicker day after quashing the still-winless University of the East Lady Warriors in 10 games.

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Poca Alcala showed utter domination of Jalynne Chua in the first singles match, before rookie Jaja Andres followed it up with an even more convincing 21-7 games won over Kessara Palot to put UP at 2-0 lead.

With two former MVPs in Alcala and Jessie Francisco team up, the former-three peat champions State U clinched their 30th straight win in the qualifying rounds in yet another quick work of Deinne Leonardo and Chua.

Rookie Tricia Opon and debuting Emjay Salapong dealt with adversity in the opening game of the second doubles match, but breezed past Palot and Erycka Labay in the second game. Co-captain Ann Maranon then completed the sweep with a two-setter past UE captain Labay.

On Court 1, Jhay Anne Macabenta and the Adamson Lady Falcons went into the day with a bid of pulling the rug off the Ateneo Lady Eagles. However, Ateneo proved to be too much, picking up a 4-1 triumph.

Macabenta though could not carry on with a thigh strain hampering her movement.

Macabenta battled through pain but Ateneo skipper Samantha Ramos was too much as the Loyola Heights-based side took the first singles match in a rather convincing fashion of two games. The fourth-year Adamsonian went straight to the medics and after due evaluation had to forego the first doubles match in which she was also fielded in.

With two matches in the bag for the Lady Eagles, Clydel Pada kept Adamson in the fight after taking down last year’s top rookie Alyssa Roxas in two grueling sets. Pada crawled back from a deficit in the first game before pulling away in the second for the win.

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Pada and her fellow senior Mikaela Aquino threatened to extend the Falcons’ life with a win in the first game of the second doubles match. Nonetheless, Bea Felizardo and Ramos marched on to take the win for the still undefeated Ateneo squad at 3-0. To complete the rout, Geva De Vera dominated the rather gassed out Aquino in the third singles match.

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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