Colegio de San Juan de Letran (CSJL) completed a 2-1 come-from-behind victory against Lyceum of the Philippines (LPU) to clinch its second crown in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) men’s badminton tournament at the Rizal Memorial Badminton Hall in Malate, Manila on Wednesday.
Lyceum’s Francis Ramos trounced Melvin Sarao in straight sets in the first singles, 7-21, 12-21, but Letran’s Nathali and Nepthali Pineda retaliated and overpowered Renbert Gustillo and John Paul Carolino in doubles, 21-12, 21-13, to force a deciding match.
Mark Joseph Sabarre then towed Letran to the title after surviving Lyceum’s Alex Climaco in the do-or-die singles game via a 19-21, 21-19, 21-12 decision.
Letran head coach Jojo Mance shared that his players requested to rearrange the lineup against Lyceum. “It was a team effort because everyone had their own ideas. I thought about the best thing I can do so that everyone will perform and I paved way for those whom I think will really deliver,” he said.
Last season’s champions De La-Salle-College of St. Benilde (CSB) Blazers Austin Sangalang, Lorenzo Yason, and duo Lance Bautista and Dominic Santos swept their opponents from San Beda College (SBC), 3-0.
CSJL and CSB both finished with a 2-1 win-loss card at the end of the second round. But since the Letran Knights defeated the CSB Blazers, 2-1, on Sunday, the Knights emerged as the NCAA Season 92’s champion.
“They played well and I’m contented with that. I always remind them to play their game, be humble, and play for the glory and honor of God,” added Mance, the Best Coach in the juniors and seniors divisions.
The former National University (NU) mentor expressed his happiness after bringing the championship tradition from NU to Letran.
In the women’s play, the Arellano University (AU) Lady Chiefs dethroned the six-time champions CSB Lady Blazers, 2-1, in the championship playoff to claim their first crown.
“They played their hearts out and they really fought for this. They were only five in the team but they were determined to win the crown because they wanted it,” said AU head coach Christian Torres who was awarded as the Best Coach in the women’s bracket.
In the juniors division, Letran also ended the reign of CSB-La Salle Greenhills, 2-1, to win the crown.
Letran’s Sabarre and Christian Gioelli Tortoles, and Arellano’s Zyrish Camba received the Most Valuable Player plums for the seniors, juniors, and women’s divisions, respectively.