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Unblemished: Green Shuttlers rout FEU for fifth straight win

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Last year’s finalists De La Salle University Green Shuttlers extended the woes of the Far Eastern University Tamaraws with an impressive 4–1 victory to keep in line with defending champions National University at the top of the standings, Sunday morning at the Rizal Memorial Badminton Hall.

In the first singles, DLSU veteran Kenneth Monterubio began the day on a high note for the Taft-based squad in a straight-sets demolition of Justine Tercias. Monterubio used a strong start in the first set to lead 11–7 at the break. Tercias used his length to keep up with of his opponent, but the experience of the latter pulled through, thus grabbing the first game for La Salle, 21–15. Taking nothing to chance, Monterubio romped off in the second set to put the match out of reach. After another tight 11–6 score line at the break, the national team mainstay closed out the set and the match, 21–5.

Playing on his final year, FEU’s Josh Maquelabit tried to make it count and registered another win on his belt to level the match for his team in the second singles match. The Tamaraw and DLSU Team Captain Elijah Boac fought hard during the initial minutes of the first set before the latter quickly piled up seven straight points to move into the interval, 11–6. The Green Shuttler held on to an 18–13 advantage until Maquelabit made his move and countered, which the set at 18. Boac then answered with back-to-back points to get to the game point first. However, the Green Shuttler could not finish the match, giving FEU the set, 24–22. That turned out to be fatal for Boac, as Maquelabit remained to be unrelenting in the following set. FEU breezed through the second set and clinched the match, 21–9.

With the tie leveled at one match apiece, the doubles pairs from both teams were pushed into the hot seat. In the first doubles, Gerald Sibayan and Joshua Monterubio regained the lead for DLSU when they dispatched Vince Lagnada and Jade Sarmiento. The La Sallians used their experience to subdue the Tamaraws in 25 minutes with two 21–14 score lines. Sibayan and Joshua Monterubio survived tight opening halves of both sets but managed to pull away in the end. In the second doubles match, a timely four-point run to close the first set powered the Green Shuttlers after Lagnada and Sarmiento cut the deficit to 4, 14 –18. The following set saw DLSU lead against FEU by as much as 9, 18–9, but the Morayta-based duo mounted a late rally to inch close once again. Back-to-back points for DLSU concluded the set and reclaim the lead.

Maquelabit and Rafael Dionisio took the court in an attempt to push Anton Cayanan, Jerickson Obaob, and DLSU into a deciding match. With that in mind, Cayanan and Obaob flexed their muscles early on in the opening frame. After Dionisio and Maquelabit tied the set at seven, the La Sallians pulled off three separate scoring runs to clinch the game, 21–11. Fully aware of their team tie win on the line, FEU tried to keep the second game close. A tight exchange ensued throughout the match, but when DLSU emerged from the tussle to move within two points away from taking the match, the duo finished it off, 21–19. Cayanan and Obaob kept the Taft-based squad unscathed.

With the tie already won, DLSU rookie Andrew Pineda bounced back from his previous loss to register his first UAAP win in the final singles match. The upstart dismantled a tired Dionisio in two 21–14 games. DLSU rode on huge scoring runs on both games to finish off the FEU veteran. In both frames, Dionisio attempted to inch closer to Pineda, but it was to no avail. The Green Shuttler played like a grizzled veteran and fended off any attempt from the Tamaraw, closing out the tie with another victory for his squad.

The Green Shuttlers will face feisty University of Santo Tomas on Saturday, October 3. Simultaneously, the Tamaraws will try to snap this losing streak as they battle reigning champions National University.

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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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