One team attempting to continue their streak, and another team trying to move from the shadows of the past, highlighted the second day of the UAAP Season 81 Men’s Badminton Tournament, Thursday morning at the Rizal Memorial Badminton Hall.
Reigning champions National University Bulldogs opened their campaign for a fifth straight title, showing their wares in a dominant 4-1 conquest of Season 79 Finals rivals Ateneo de Manila University Blue Eagles.
Mike Minuluan took down Blue Eagles captain Carlo Remo, surprisingly in just two sets, before returning UAAP 79 Most Valuable Player Ros Pedrosa made quick work of Fides Bagasbas in the second singles match.
Last year’s top player Alvin Morada and Alem Palmares then closed out the tie with another straight-set win over Remo and Keoni Asuncion in the first doubles match.
The two teams split the last two contests as National U pocketed the second doubles match with Minuluan and Dawn Cuyno stopping Sean Chan and Tomas Alfonzo Fernandez in two sets, before Asuncion prevented a sweep with a two-game sweep of former Far Eastern University Tamaraw Estarco Bacalso III.
Nonetheless, it was the Adamson University Soaring Falcons who stole the spotlight for the day after they dealt last year’s semifinalists University of Santo Tomas Tiger Shuttlers another heartbreaking 2-3 loss.
Senior Elbren Concha fllexed his muscles in the tie after sweeping his assignments. The senior Falcon opened the upset with a two-set shocker past John Christian Yabut, before he clinched the tie win alongside Johnrick Macabenta.
Fellow long-time standout Kevin Fabros had to squeeze past John Hendrick Peralta in three games to take the second singles match. However, the former gassed out, losing the succeeding first doubles contest with Angelo Zerna to Juan Miguel Santiago and Paolo Barrios in two games. Lorenzo Del Rosario closed the day with a Thomasian victory in two frames past fellow newbie Leande Pedrosa.
Fabros later shared their motivation this season was after going winless last year: “Yung coach namin na laging nandyan. At siyempre sa sarili na namin, gusto na talaga naming i-angat yung Adamson.”
Thus this win can be considered a step towards that goal. The stalwart added, “Sobrang saya kasi hindi naman namin inexpect na manalo kami. Gusto lang namin is mapakita yung pinaka-best namin.”
Joining the fray are the De La Salle University Green Shuttlers, who walloped the University of the East Red Warriors, 5-0, in just 10 games to take the early season lead at a 2-0 win-loss record.
The La Salle rookies showed up in this tie, seizing their opportunity to strut their stuff.
Louie Khairial led the way for the Taft-based squad with wins in both his singles and doubles matches for the day. The frosh paired up with Bless Linaban in a sweep of Arsen Donesa and Edward Adriano before finishing the tie sweep in two games past Benjamin Silva in the third singles match.
Before Linaban and Khairial clinched the tie, it was seniors Andrew Pineda and Cayel Pajarillo who set up their rookies to the win. Pineda dominated Rojan Gami, while Pajarillo made short work of Christian Garcia.
Paolo Malabanan and Eljee Gavile secured the other win for the Green and White, defeating Garcia and Silva in the second doubles match.