The University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons upstaged the Ateneo Blue Eagles in their first match-up of the season earlier today at the Rizal Memorial Badminton Hall. Each game went down the wire, but the Maroons bagged 4 out of the 5 matches to win the tie.
Their neighbors from Katipunan are familiar foes in men’s badminton, with the Blue Eagles having defeated the Fighting Maroons to bag third place in the last UAAP season.
John Matthew Bernardo gave UP their first win after defeating Blue Eagle Clarence Filart in two sets. Filart was the more powerful hitter, but Bernardo used perfectly placed drops to get the lead early and eventually win the first game. The first game ended with a score of 21-18, courtesy of a clean smash by the Fighting Maroon. Filart had a better start in the second game, but Bernardo caught up to seal the match, 21-16.
Jan Mangubat brought the only victory for the Blue Eagles, beating UP’s Lorenzo Leonardo in two sets, 21-15, 21-18, in the first and second sets respectively. Both were hard hitters, but Leonardo was riddled by unforced errors that gave up crucial points.
The Maroons bounced back in the first doubles match with the duo of Vincent Manuel and Joaquin Deato winning a two-setter against Ateneo’s Carlo Remo and Hanz Bernardo, 21-15, 21-19. Both of the games were tight until the end, but Ateneo’s untimely errors proved to be crucial as UP escaped with the win.
The second match went down the wire, with UP outlasting the Blue eagles in three close games, 21-15, 19-21, 24-22. Roberto Pineda and Ethan Malelang of UP showed their familiarity as the high school teammates took the first game convincingly. However, Fides Bagasbas and Patrick Gecosana fought back to win the second game. Both teams showed fatigue in the last game and it was not until Ateneo made two crucial errors for UP to take the deuce and the advantage for the win.
In the final match, CK Clemente of the Fighting Maroons squeaked past Sean Chan of Ateneo in with an identical score of 21-19 in two games.