by Luisa Morales
The University of the Philippines (UP) Lady Shuttlers began their title defense in a dominating fashion over the Far Eastern University (FEU) Lady Tamaraws, 4-1, in the opening of the UAAP Season 78 women’s badminton tournament at the Rizal Memorial Badminton Hall, Saturday.
The Maroons felt the jitters in its opening match as Bea Bernardo succumbed to Thea Pomar. Both sets were close but Pomar managed to wrest the lead at the homestretch of each set, outlasting Bernardo, 2-0 (21-18, 21-17).
But UP showed their true form in the second match with Mary Ann Maranon outperforming FEU’s Michal Duquilla in straight sets, 2-0 (21-11, 21-16).
In the doubles’ play, Maroons’ duo of Jessie Francisco and Lea Inlayo swept Pomar and Hannah Tudtud, 2-0 (21-15, 21-11) to help UP regain the lead, 2-1.
Maranon, again, defeated Duquilla this time in the other doubles’ match. Along with Marina Caculitan, Maranon survived the tandem of Duquilla and Maridel Rivera, 2-1.
The Lady Tamaraws started strong in the first set, 21-15. But the Lady Maroons managed to finish strong in a neck-and-neck second set battle, 24-22. Maranon and Caculitan proved to be too much for FEU as they scored an emphatic, 21-10, to secure the win for the Maroons.
In the last match, Inlayo edged Tudtud in close straight sets, 2-0 (21-18, 22-20) to seal UP the victory over FEU.
Their male counterpart, meanwhile, bowed down to De La Salle University in their opening match, 1-4, but bounced back against Far Eastern University on Sunday, 5-0.
Action for the UP badminton teams will continue this Wednesday at the Rizal Memorial Badminton Hall. The lady shuttlers will play De La Salle University at 2:30 p.m. while their male counterparts will face defending champions National University at 10:30 a.m.