Second seed University of the Philippines (UP) will be battling Ateneo de Manila University in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) Season 79 men’s badminton stepladder semifinals on Saturday at the Rizal Memorial Badminton Hall in Manila.
The Fighting Maroons, who own a twice-to-beat advantage, closed the elimination round with a 6-1 win-loss card while the Blue Eagles stayed alive after ousting third seed De La Salle University, 3-2, on Wednesday.
UP carved out a 4-1 victory against Ateneo during the season opener last September 17.
John Matthew Bernardo drew the first blood for UP after sweeping Nicole Clarence Filart, 21-18, 21-16. Blue Eagle Emilio Mangubat Jr. then bounced back in the second singles match, finishing off Lorenzo Miguel Leonardo in straight sets, 15-21, 18-21.
UP’s Vincent Rafael Manuel and Joaquin Raphael Deato dispatched Hanz Christian Bernardo and Carlo Glenn Remo, 21-15, 21-19.
Roberto Pineda and Ethan Joshua Malelang took away the first set from Blue Eagles Fides Bagasbas and Patrick Gecosala, 21-15. However, the Ateneo tandem retaliated in the next set to force a decider, 19-21. Pineda and Malelang survived Bagasbas and Gecosala in the third set, 24-22.
In the last singles match, Carl Kristian Clemente outclassed Sean Chan to notch the fourth win for UP, 21-19, 21-19.
Ateneo head coach Kennie Asuncion-Robles is hopeful to sustain their winning streak after the Blue Eagles won over the Green Archers. “So I hope that this is our momentum. I think we’re doing pretty well. I really hope that this will continue all the way,” she said.
In the women’s play, the Ateneo Lady Eagles erased the twice-to-beat advantage of the La Salle Lady Archers, 3-0, forcing a do-or-die match.
“We’re very, very set to get whatever we can get. I think it all boils down to their heart that they don’t give up until the end, they don’t back down,” Asuncion-Robles added.