Reminiscent of their elimination round matchups, DLSU and ADMU squared off in a pair of highly emotional and intense semifinal matches in the UAAP Season 79 Men’s and Women’s Badminton Tournaments. The DLSU Green Shuttlers fell at the hands of the ADMU Blue Eagles, 3-2, settling for a fourth place finish in the tournament. With the win, ADMU booked a ticket to face the UP Fighting Maroons in the semifinals.
In the women’s division, the Lady Shuttlers suffered the same fate, losing to the Lady Eagles, 3-0, and surrendering their twice-to-beat advantage.
Green Shuttler’s conquest concludes
Kenneth Monterubio of the Green Shuttlers and Jan Mangubat of the Blue Eagles were eager to gain an advantage over the other in a closely fought first match. Their first set had a total of four deadlocks until Mangubat pulled away with a 4-0 scoring run to widen the gap at 15-11. Monterubio responded with a 3-0 run of his own, but Mangubat was able to pull away and take the first set, 17-21. Mangubat built an early lead on the second set and capitalized on the situation to defeat Monterubio, 16-21.
DLSU’s Anton Cayanan went up against ADMU’s Clarence Filart to start off the second match. Cayanan capitalized on Filart’s errors and went on to score eight unanswered points early on in the first set. However, Filart was able to come back to tie the set at 16 apiece. Although Cayanan lead Filart 19-17, the Blue Eagle scored in the last four plays and snatched the set at 19-21. The second set was an even match, with a deadlock at 19-all. A crucial error from Filart and a smash from Cayanan gave the latter a 21-19 win and paved way for a deciding third set. The outcome of the last set yielded the same result of 21-19 in favor of the Green Shuttlers. Filart had the chance to force a deuce to tie Cayanan at 20-20, but committed a costly mistake as he blew a potential smash from Cayanan’s return. A sensational comeback was completed by the veteran playing in his final year to tie the game at 1-all.
The first doubles match featured Anton Cayanan and Prince Monterubio for La Salle versus Blue Eagles Jan Mangubat and Hanz Bernardo. ADMU drew first blood in a closely fought first set, out hustling La Salle, 19-21. The Green-and-White responded with consistent play to claim second set, 21-18. Unfortunately, in the third set, DLSU failed to recover from a 5-0 Blue Eagle scoring run as the former was outplayed by the latter, 13-21.
La Salle then came back to claim the fourth match and tie the game at 2-all. Veteran Green Shuttler Kenneth Monterubio and Cayel Pajarillo outclassed ADMU’s Carlo Remo and Patrick Gecosala. The Monterubio-Pajarillo tandem sparked an 11-1 run and defeated the Blue-and-White, 21-15, in the first set. La Salle carried on the momentum and finished the second set with ease, 21-17, leading to a winner take-all match.
The deciding match was a showdown between DLSU’s Andrew Pineda and Hanz Bernardo of ADMU. The Blue Eagle quickly asserted himself early in the first set, going on to win, 21-16. Bernardo then continued to have his way, leading 10-4 early in the second set. However, Pineda would trim the lead to two points, 10-8. Bernardo took a 19-13 lead, before holding off another La Salle rally to seal the victory for ADMU, 21-16. The final point of the match ended in dramatic fashion with Bernardo holding serve with a last-second dive which Pineda attempted to kill. Pineda’s effort sailed just out of bounds, ending DLSU’s hopes of making a finals appearance.
After the game, when asked about the team’s overall performance during the season, co-captain Michael Saragena had no regrets. “Ginawa naman namin lahat [para] sa team and pinaghandaan namin to. Nagkataon lang na nagkulang lang talaga kami na nandito.”
The rookie also mentioned the seniors retiring from the team. “Siyempre iba kasi pag ADMU-DLSU yung laban, parang init talaga. Yung akin lang din parang naawa kami sa mga seniors namin [Cayanan and K. Monterubio] na gagraduate na,” said Saragena.
“For the past years yung rank namin nasa second place kami tapos ngayon bumaba ng fourth. Ang masasabi ko lang is babawi kami next year,” stressed Saragena, who pledged to improve next season despite the loss of two veteran Shuttlers in team captain Monterubio and Cayanan.
ADMU forces knockout match
In the afternoon matches, the Lady Shuttlers looked to set up a showdown in the finals with the UP Lady Maroons, as they held a twice-to-beat advantage over the ADMU Lady Eagles. However, ADMU had other plans as the Lady Eagles looked to sustain their form after coming off a win against UST in their stepladder match earlier on in the week.
The first match between DLSU’s Arianne Rivera and ADMU’s Trixie Malibanan was a back-and-forth affair from the start, as Rivera held a slim 11-10 lead in the first set. In a pivotal point, the rival schools played a long rally which culminated with a Rivera kill for her 20th point. She would eventually take the opening set, 21-19. In the second set, however, Malibanan answered back with an 11-7 lead heading into the break. Rivera then responded, tying the game at 15-all before Malibanan held on to take a 21-19 win and forge a third set. It was in the deciding set where Malibanan took advantage of a weary Rivera, as the former led 20-11. The Lady Shuttler did not go down without a fight, as she fought her way to a 20-15 deficit, before finally succumbing, 21-15.
The second match saw Lady Shuttler Isay Leonardo against Lady Eagle Bianca Carlos. ADMU started strong, opening with a 13-7 advantage and eventually finishing the set, 21-14. Carlos again made quick work of Leonardo in the second set, never being threatened as she ran away with a 21-10 result to push ADMU to a commanding 2-0 lead.
To stave off a sweep, the Lady Shuttlers looked to veterans Kristelle Salatan and Aires Montilla in the doubles match versus Carlos and Chanelle Lunod. In the first set, the Lady Shuttlers held an 11-10 lead as both teams looked to make it a high-octane affair. Montilla led the way for DLSU as she pushed the lead, 15-10. However, the Lady Eagles roared back to take a 16-15 advantage. However, La Salle restored its lead, ending the set 21-19.
The second set spelled a different story as the Lady Eagles showed their talons with an 11-1 edge halfway. It was then the Lady Shuttlers’ turn to stage a comeback, knotting the game at 17-all as Salatan and Montilla eventually found their chemistry. The pair would fall short, as Carlos and Lunod held on to take the set, 21-18, and force a decisive third set. The Lasallians looked tired after their valiant fight, down 11-6 heading into the break. Even as ADMU seemed to be the more fit team, La Salle breathed life again, coming back from the deficit to come within one point, 18-17. Salatan and Montilla were drained from their efforts in the comeback, however, and were unable to etch out a win, as an error from the prior ended the game, 21-19.
Despite the loss, the Lady Shuttlers still have an opportunity to clinch a spot at the finals at the expense of their twice-to-beat advantage. They face ADMU again on Saturday, October 8, at 1 pm at the Rizal Memorial Badminton Hall.