Blue Eagles clinch last semifinals berth

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ATENEO de Manila University booked the remaining men’s semifinals berth in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines Season 79 badminton tournament with a 3-1 victory over University of Santo Tomas (UST) in Sunday’s do-or-die playoff.

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The Blue Eagles avenged last Saturday’s 2-3 defeat to the Growling Tigers at the end of the preliminaries.

Ateneo will now face fierce rival De La Salle University in the first stepladder semifinals, a knockout affair, on Wednesday at the Rizal Memorial Badminton Hall.

Three-peat seeking National University (NU) is already in the best-of-three championship series after winning all its seven elimination round ties, while University of the Philippines holds the twice-to-beat bonus in the second step-ladder semis after finishing second with a 6-1 card.

In the women’s division, Ateneo swept NU, 3-0, to forge a second stepladder semis showdown with twice-to-beat La Salle on Wednesday.

Clarence Filart drew first blood for the Eagles in the first singles match, hacking out a 21-17, 21-11 win over Christian Yabut.

Jan Mangubat made it a 2-0 lead for Ateneo following a 21-13, 21-11 dismantling of Kristian Barrios in the second singles.

UST’s Paul Pantig and Edgar Reyes carved out a 21-16, 21-16 win over over Filart and Sean Chan in the first doubles to stay alive.

Hanz Bernardo and Mangubat then prevailed over Mark Sotea and Barrios, 21-12, 21-18, in the second doubles to clinch the tie for the Eagles.

REALYN STEVENS

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