National University (NU) beat Ateneo de Manila University, 3-0, in Game 1 of the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) men’s badminton best-of-three finals on Wednesday at the Rizal Memorial Badminton Hall in Malate, Manila.
Frell Keeyan Gabuelo finished off Ateneo’s Emilio Mangubat Jr. in a three-set thriller in the first singles match, 21-10, 14-21, 21-7.
NU’s Ros Leenard Pedrosa outclassed Hanz Christian Bernardo in the first set, 21-19. Errors plagued Bernardo at the opening of the second set to give Pedrosa a six-point lead, 11-5.
Bernardo then committed three consecutive errors with Pedrosa reaching the match point, 20-10. The Bulldog closed the second singles match with a quick smash, 21-10.
In the first doubles match, Mangubat and Bernardo snatched the first set from Mike Minuluan and Alem Palmares to keep the hopes alive for Ateneo, 17-21.
Both teams went on a nip-and-tuck battle in the second set. Mangubat hit a quick smash to break the deadlock, 8-9. However, the Ateneo duo gave away five net errors, handing the advantage to NU, 14-11. The Bulldogs forced a decider after Minuluan landed a drop shot, 21-13.
Errors plagued Ateneo’s territory as Mangubat and Bernardo sent three straight outside shots, 21-9. Minuluan hit a smash with the Blue Eagles falling down on the court and failing to return the shuttlecock, 19-18.
Mangubat and Bernardo both sent the shuttle cock to the net to give the victory to NU, 21-18.
“Actually, I noticed that since we had a long rest and we waited for quite long, there was the tendency that the level of their games declined a bit. But for me, that was not an excuse. I explained to my players that our opponents really want to defeat us. As you saw earlier, they (Ateneo) kept on fighting despite having cramps. So this is really anybody’s game wherein there’s no strong nor weak,” said NU head coach Jaime Lllanes.
In Game 2 of the women’s badminton finals, University of the Philippines (UP) survived Ateneo, 3-2, to force a do-or-die Game 3.
Lady Eagle Samantha Louise Ramos drew the first blood against Mary Ann Maranon in straight sets, 11-21, 14-21.
Maria Bianca Ysabel Carlos sustained the winning momentum for Ateneo after sweeping Lady Maroon Gelita Castilo, 15-21, 15-21.
UP’s duo Malvine Ann Venice Alcala and Jessie Francisco trounced Joella Geva de Vera and Cassandra Grace Lim, 21-13, 21-15.
Gelita and Eleanor Christine Inlayo tied the matches at two-all after completing a come-from-behind victory against Carlos and Chanelle Lunod, 20-22, 21-16, 21-12.
Alcala did not look back and took away the last singles match from Patrisha Edricka Malibiran, 21-10, 21-14.
The Lady Maroons and the Lady Eagles will be disputing the crown on Saturday after the NU-Ateneo clash that will start at 9 a.m.