The opening week of the UAAP Season 82 Badminton Tournament saw the Lady Shuttlers dominate all their opponents while the Maroon Smashers collect wins to stay afloat the rankings.

After three games, the UP Lady Shuttlers sit at a comfortable 3-0 slate while the Maroon Smashers hold a 2-1 win-loss card. 

Commanding kick-off

After a silver podium finish on Season 81, the UP Badminton Team was laser-focused as they started strong for their title bid redemption. 

The Maroon Smashers and Lady Shuttlers showed no mercy as they swept the University of the East (UE) Red Warriors, 5-0, in their respective matches on September 18 at Centro Atletico, Quezon City.

The Maroon Smashers salvaged the first singles match with team captain JM Bernardo cruising to a two-set victory over UE’s Edward Adriano, 21-11, 21-6. Meanwhile, rookie Kim Ga-an snatched the win on the decider against Angelo David in the second singles match, 19-21, 21-16, 21-15.

UP did not falter in the first doubles match as duo Vinci Manuel and Michael Clemente thwarted UE’s pair Khristian Reyes and Christian Garcia in a straight set, 21-13, 21-10.

Not long after, Harvey Tungul and Jason Vanzuela tripped UE’s double team to assert State U’s dominance, while Season 81 Rookie of the Year Kyle Legazpi sealed the third singles to complete an impressive sweep, 5-0.

Likewise, the UP Lady Shuttlers demolished the Red Warriors to post a 5-0 victory.

Janelle Andres pounded on UE’s Justine Amposta in a merciless 21-6, 21-8 singles match, while Aldreen Concepcion disposed UE’s Graziel Cabriga in another sweep, 21-8, 21-15.

Maroon tandem team captain Pauline Santos and Tricia Opon blanked the red duo of Kessara Palot and Patrice Reyes, 23-21, 21-12, to assure State U’s victory at 3-0. 

The second double pair Andrea Abalos and Maria Lopez cruised past UE’s duo in two sets, 21-7, 21-13, while Jane Carlos closed out the day for the Fighting Maroons as she nabbed a 21-17, 21-13 win. 

Tough battles lost and won

Coming from a cloud nine spirit in their strong season-opener, the Maroon Smashers were sent back to earth as they suffered their first loss to the De La Salle University (DLSU) Green Shuttlers in 2-3 victories to put State U in a 1-1 slate on September 21 at Camp Crame. 

Agility and power were inadequate to power UP over DLSU as Bernardo handed Green Shuttler Jan Mangubat the first singles match in straight sets, 23-25, 15-17. Jacob Tercias suffered the same 21-23, 8-21 defeat in the hands of DLSU’s Andrew Pineda.

Maroon’s doubles bet Bernardo and Tungul breezed past Lasallians Mangubat and Christian Bernardo, 22-24, 21-17, 22-20, to give UP their first win. The Manuel-Clemente tandem also equalized DLSU at 2-2 with their 21-11, 21-17 doubles victory. 

All the pressure was on Ga-an as he went against Green Shuttler Bernardo, eventually surrendering the game in straight sets, 14-21, 19-21.

In contrast, the UP Lady Shuttlers moved forward as they overpowered the National University (NU) Lady Shuttlers in a tight 3-2 victory.

Rookie Aldreen Concepcion gave the women’s team a nail-bitter 25-23 first set win and 21-10 dominating finish, but Andres was denied by Season 81 Rookie of the Year Sarah Barredo in a sweep, 10-21, 13-21.

Now with team-tie standing at 1-1, the Andres-Opom tandem pummeled the NU Lady Shuttlers in two sets, 21-17, 21-7 but NU answered back by demolishing the Maroon and Green duo Concepcion and Lopez in a sweep, 15-21, 4-21.  

The fate of the team was in the hands of Airish Macalino who saved the day for State U as she survived the gritty Kate Amigable in three sets, 19-21, 21-16, 21-10.

Taming the Tigers 

The Maroon Smashers are back in their winnings ways after cruising past the University of Santo Tomas (UST) Tiger Shuttlers in a 4-1 victory on September 22 at Camp Crame.

Team Captain Bernardo outmuscled UST’s Jerone Belong in the first singles, 21-15, 21-19, to notch the first win of the Maroons while Clemente escaped Sean Dela Cruz in three sets, 21-14, 13-21, 21-19, to mount a two to nothing lead.

Power duos Manuel and Jazon Vanzuela, and Bernardo and Tungul continued to streak as the Maroons smashed, sliced, and swept all UST’s doubles teams to secure the victory for the Maroons, 4-0. 

However, Tercias failed to complete a five to nothing sweep for the Diliman squad as he fell short against aggressive tiger Lanz Ramirez in three sets, 18-21, 21-15, 17-21. 

The Maroons Smashers now stand with a 2-1 win-loss card after three games.

On the other hand, the UP Lady Shuttlers preserve their unblemished record as they complete a sweep against the UST Lady Shuttlers, 5-0. 

The first victory came from the hardfought head-to-head battle between UP Lady Shuttler Andres and UST Lady Shuttler Kristeen Geronimo. After the Lady Maroon dropped the first set, 13-21, Andres grabbed the win in the second and decider sets, 21-12, 21-11.

Concepcion notched back-to-back victories for State U as she survived the prowess of tiger Elu Peña in three sets, 21-6, 14-21, 21-18.

The UST Lady shuttlers were still winless against the Maroons as the Opon-Andres tandem toppled the Tigresses in the first doubles match, 21-17, 21-11.

Likewise, Andrea Abalos and Lopez proved they are a force to be reckoned with as they dumped Geronimo and Stephanie Mortera, 21-10, 21-12, en route to Lady Shuttler’s fourth win. 

Macalino added the finishing touches to the Lady Shuttlers’ undefeated record, nailing to the ground tigress Mortera, 21-13, 21-13, to complete another sweep.

What’s next?

Both teams will face their Season 81 finals opponent as Maroon Smashers compete against the reigning champion National University (NU) Shuttlers, and the UP Lady Shuttlers face their undefeated rival Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU) Lady Shuttlers on September 24, at Centro Atletico, Quezon City.

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