The DLSU Shuttlers were determined to take back the title in this year’s UAAP Season 79 Badminton Tournament. Despite the numerous adjustments on pairings, the Green Shuttlers concluded the season in fourth place. On the other hand, the Lady Shuttlers settled for third place despite holding a twice-to-beat advantage versus the ADMU Lady Eagles in the semifinals.
Green Shuttlers fall short of podium finish
La Salle capped off the elimination round with a 4-3 win-loss record in third place. The NU Bulldogs and UP Fighting Maroons finished ahead of the Green Shuttlers in the standings with 7-0 and 6-1 win-loss records, respectively.
The Green-and-White managed to earn victories at the expense of the FEU Tamaraws, UST Growling Tigers, UE Red Warriors, and AdU Soaring Falcons. La Salle finished with a 4-1 scoreline in all of its victories in the men’s division, with the exception of a 5-0 crushing of the Soaring Falcons. UP and NU, the top two teams of the tournament, plus the ADMU Blue Eagles, dealt DLSU its three losses of the elimination round.
As NU finished the eliminations undefeated, the Final Four featured a step-ladder format. Expectations were high as La Salle competed with the Blue Eagles in the playoffs. Another intense matchup took place between the two teams, but the outcome was not any different from their first showdown. The Green Shuttlers fell once again to the Blue-and-White and took an early exit from the playoffs.
The Green-and-White is set to lose team captain Kenneth Monterubio and Anton Cayanan, who have both played out their final years of eligibility. After concluding the two previous seasons with a second-place finish, the Green Shuttlers will have to settle for fourth place in Season 79.
Ahead of La Salle in third place is the UP Fighting Maroons. In the men’s final, the NU Bulldogs reclaimed their third consecutive title, sweeping ADMU in two contests, 3-0, 3-0. Ros Pedrosa of NU was named MVP (Most Valuable Player) for the season.
Lady Shuttlers settle for third
The Lady Shuttlers ended the elimination round in solo second place with a 6-1 win-loss standing. The undefeated UP Lady Maroons dealt La Salle its only loss of the season as they took a 4-1 victory. Meanwhile, the ADMU Lady Eagles and UST Growling Tigresses rounded up the Final Four cast.
The Lady Shuttlers, who held a twice-to-beat advantage, met ADMU again in the playoffs, as the Lady Eagles defeated UST to set up a rematch from last season.
After winning their match-up in the elimination round, DLSU was optimistic that they would finally secure a spot at the finals, needing to win only once to advance. However, it was not to be, as ADMU defied the odds and swept the Lady Shuttlers both rounds, 3-0.
After the match, head coach Owen Lopez was visibly in agony from the loss. “Di namin in-expect na ganun ang mangyayari.” Falling short again in the semifinals against the same opponent, coach Lopez was left wondering why the team could not pull through when it mattered most. “Ang sinabi ko lang naman ko lang naman sa team namin is kailangan may mag step-up, hindi pwede parang ang nangyari… ang laban is hindi individual. Since [this is a] team competition, kailangan tulungan.”
In the finals, the UP Lady Maroons captured their third consecutive championship in a best-of-three series, defeating ADMU 2-1. Poca Alcala of UP captured MVP honors for her performance throughout the tournament.
With the Green Shuttlers’ and Lady Shuttlers’ results, the teams earned eight and 10 points, respectively, for DLSU in the General Championship tally.