SportsUAAP: DLSU Shuttlers dispatch AdU Soaring, Lady Falcons, clinch Final Four spots
UAAP: DLSU Shuttlers dispatch AdU Soaring, Lady Falcons, clinch Final Four spots

The DLSU Green Shuttlers and Lady Shuttlers both earned tickets to the Final Four after beating the AdU Soaring Falcons and Lady Falcons yesterday at the Rizal Memorial Badminton Hall. The Green Shuttlers capped off the eliminations round with a 5-0 beating of AdU, finishing with a 4-3 win-loss record. Likewise, the Lady Shuttlers looked poised to make a run for the title, soundly beating their counterparts, 4-1.

Green Shuttlers outclass Soaring Falcons

The Green Shuttlers succeeded to keep their hopes of qualifying for the Final Four alive. After garnering a 3-3 win-loss standing last Wednesday after a win against UE, it was a must-win situation for the men’s side if they hoped to secure a top four finish after the elimination round.

Kenneth Monterubio claimed the first match versus Marf Concha of Adamson. Monterubio took the first set with ease after making two separate 7-0 runs, leaving Concha trailing, 21-6. The second set started with Monterubio leading, 6-3, and went on to end with a 21-11 La Salle victory. The next singles match was between Andrew Pineda of DLSU and Gerloth Delizo, representing AdU. Delizo built an early 4-1 lead. However, Pineda managed to come back and capitalize on Delizo’s costly errors. The set had as many as four deadlocks until Pineda pulled away and took the game in two sets, 21-11, 21-13.

The first doubles match featured an early 6-0 lead by La Salle, with Veteran Green Shuttler Cayanan and Jerickson Obaob defeating Jeffrey Iquina and Aldrin Paclibape, 21-10, 21-15.

Sophomore Cayel Pajarillo paired up with Prince Monterubio in facing Concha and Joshua Antonio of the Soaring Falcons. The Green-and-White led Adamson early on, 11-6, and finished the game in straight sets, 21-17, 21-18.

The last matchup of the men’s team featured Michael Saragena of the Green Shuttlers versus Karl Zamoranos. Despite the late run by Zamoranos in the first set, Saragena crushed Zamorenos, 21-9. In the next set, Saragena closed out Zamoranos, 21-10.

After the matches, coach Owen Lopez emphasized the team’s consistency in surviving crucial matches. “Maging consistent lang, kasi siyempre malaking bagay pag consistent ka, lalo na kapag naghahandle ng pressure games.”

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Lady Shuttlers defeat Lady Falcons

Already assured of a spot in the semifinals prior to the round, the Lady Shuttlers proved to be too much for AdU from the start. In the opening match, Arianne Rivera overwhelmed Alyssa San Pedro, 21-7, 21-8. After leading 11-7 midway through the first set, Rivera scored 10 unanswered points which set the tone throughout the match.

Iyah Sevilla went against AdU’s Mikaela Aquino. Sevilla took command early, holding an 11-6 advantage heading into the first break, and would go on to finish off the set, 21-9. However, the second set was a back-and-forth affair, with the Lady Shuttler holding a slim 11-7 lead midway. However, Sevilla built on a string of runs to finish the game, 21-11, to give DLSU the 2-0 lead.

The third round was a doubles matchup featuring DLSU’s Aires Montilla and team captain Kristelle Salatan up against the Lady Falcons’ Christine Garin and Margarita Villacorta, with similar results to the previous matches. Montilla and Salatan took the first set with relative ease, 21-9. They then finished off their opponents with a 21-8 second set to put the result out of reach for AdU.

The tandem of Isay Leonardo and Iyah Sevilla in the fourth match was another show of mastery by DLSU, as the pair took the first set, 21-6, against AdU’s Aquino and Clydel Pada. The second set, however, proved to be a challenge, as both teams committed costly faults with DLSU taking a slim 11-10 lead. Consequently, the second half was another test for Leonardo and Sevilla, but the mounting errors of Aquino and Pada cost them the match, allowing the Lady Shuttlers to take the second set, 21-15.

In the final match, Lin Javier made her debut for the season as she went up against Pada. Showing signs of jitters early on, Javier trailed, 11-4, before the first break. She would then lose the set against the more experienced Pada, 21-10. The second set was more of the same story, as Pada went on to claim Adamson’s lone win for the day, 21-10.

After the games, Salatan remarked that her team’s performance improved from last season, reiterating Coach Lopez’s sentiments of consistency throughout the elimination round. “I think this season, mas consistent kami kaysa last year.” When asked what she thinks the team will need to do in order to perform in the semifinals, Salatan mentioned that the team has to stay focused, saying, “For me lang, huwag lang namin masyadong isipin yung pressure from last season [holding a twice-to-beat advantage and losing consecutive games against ADMU].” Likewise, she hopes her team remains confident heading into the next round.

The Green Shuttlers will open the stepladder Final Four against the ADMU Blue Eagles on Wednesday, October 5, at 8 am in the Rizal Memorial Badminton Hall, with the winner moving on to face the second-seed UP Fighting Maroons. Final Four action in the women’s division will follow afterwards at 1 pm, with the Lady Shuttlers, who have a twice-to-beat advantage, also taking on ADMU.