University of the Philippines secured back-to-back titles in rousing fashion, sweeping all its assignments in the 2nd SMART Philippine Intercollegiate Badminton Championships on Saturday at the Centro Atletico Badminton Center in Quezon City.
The Fighting Maroons duplicated their dominance from last year with a 3-0 sweep of San Sebastian College-Recoletos, with Michael Clemente and JM Bernardo delivering the finishing blow in this tournament backed by the Philippine Badminton Association and sponsored by A2Z Customs.
“Nung nagkaroon nga nitong second Intercollegiate, gusto ko talagang mag-champion uli, kaya masaya kami na nakuha namin,” head coach Melvin Llanes said.
“Yung mag-champion mahirap na, yung ma-defend pa kaya? Tingin ko, maging morale booster to para sa UAAP.'”
The two seniors shook off the challenge of Golden Stags’ Jefferson Oba-ob and Ray Angelo Pedron in the closely fought second game to end the men’s doubles rubber and the tie, 21-13, 21-18.
The clinical victory began earlier with UP’s sophomores and UAAP Season 85 Rookies of the Year, Jelo Albo and Anthea Gonzalez, showcasing their skills.
National team standout Albo stormed right out of the gates, defeating John Paul Barandino with a 21-9, 21-5 finish, before Gonzalez made quick work of Khea Montañez, 21-14, 21-11.
The Golden Stags rounded up their Intercollegiate debut with the first runner-up prize, silver medals, and the P20,000 cash prize.
De La Salle University and College of Saint Benilde finished as second runners-up, winning bronze medals and P10,000.
Andrea Abalos, Sushmita Ramos, Jason Vanzuela, Raydric Abinales, Kimberly Lao, Tricia Opon, Kervin Llanes, and Patricia De Dios completed the squad for the Fighting Maroons.