The University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons might have had some opening day jitters, but did well to stomp their class, blanking the University of the East Red Warriors, 5-0, Thursday morning at the Rizal Memorial Badminton Hall.
Second-year player JM Bernardo continued his immaculate singles run after commencing the tie with a straight sets victory over AJ Manlalangit, 21-12, 21-18.
The Maroon breezed through the first set after a tight first few points. Nonetheless, the fifth-year Manlalangit showed his grit in the second game to attempt to send the match to a third set after leading at 18-16. From there, Bernardo finished the match to take the 1-0 lead.
Team captain CK Clemente also had troubles against AJ David in the second singles match, before winning it in three sets to push UP’s advantage further.
David took the first game at 21-19, then used it to put up a strong start in the second frame. Clemente, however, pulled away in the next few rallies of the set to force a decider at 21-10.
The UP skipper had to go through the ringer in the third as David even forced a deuce, but the former leaned on veteran smarts to end the match at 22-20.
Super senior Betong Pineda and former National University Bulldog Paul Gonzales then clinced the tie quickly, waylaying Manlalangit and Kenneth Cruz in two clinical 21-8 sets. The Maroons duo has looked composed throughout the match, securing their first winbofvthe season in style.
A pair of rookies Jolo Lunod and Michael Clemente made it four in a row, finishing David and Clarence Camacho in two games, 21-12, 21-15. Co-captain Vinci Manuel then closed the tie, fending off the challenge of Benjamin Silva, 19-21, 21-17, 26-24.
UP (1-0) will try to show their hunger this season when they lock arms with the defending champions National University on Saturday, September 23, at 8:00am. UE (0-1) will take on the University of Santo Tomas Golden Shuttlers (0-1) on the same day.