UP Fighting Maroons rule PH Intercollegiate Badminton Championships

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The University of the Philippines took the inaugural Philippine Intercollegiate Badminton Championships title after a 3-0 sweep of San Beda University on Sunday at the Centro Athletico Badminton Court in Quezon City.

The Fighting Maroons took the championship trophy, the gold medals, rackets, and PhP 50,000 cash prize as the first-ever winners of the Championships.

Seniors Jason Vanzuela and Michael Clemente wrapped up UP’s title run with a thorough 21-16, 21-11 win over Arjhay Lazareto and Ramon Timothy Santos in the men’s doubles rubber.

Vanzuela and Clemente had to shake off errors early in the first game of the match to pull away against the Red Shuttlers duo towards the end. They then used this momentum at the onset of the second to eventually fashion out the rout and the finish.

“Since marami po kaming freshies medyo nag-aadjust pa kami. Pero hindi naman tumitigil ng support sila Tito Conrado (Co, UP’s team manager), at happy po kami na after two years tuluy-tuloy pa rin po kami,” senior Lea Inlayo shared.

“Makakatulong po talaga to sa campaign namin (sa UAAP) para maging mas confident kami ‘pag dating ng Season 85. Mas nabigyan kami ng boost and pride going into the season,” Inlayo added.

UP earlier saw its two incoming rookies pull off the 2-0 advantage for the side with Kervin Llanes and Anthea Gonzales.

Llanes started it off for UP with a two-game win past Laurence Alejo, 21-13, 22-20, in the men’s singles match.

The Fighting Maroon newbie took advantage of Alejo’s errors and continually attacked the Bedan for a huge lead in the first game that he never relinquished. Alejo made his run with kills of his own, but miscues towards the end opened the door for Llanes to finish the match.

The win was followed by a dominant win from fellow freshman Gonzalez to put the Fighting Maroons into a huge 2-0 advantage, taking down Dana Navarro, in similar 21-7, 21-7 score lines.

Much like what happened in her morning assignment, Gonzalez timed her attacks perfectly, using the opponent’s shots to her favor in either of the two sets. A few errors from UP rookie gave Navarro some points, but these were far in between as Gonzalez found her winners in bunches en route to the win.

That set up the close-out performance in the men’s doubles match.

Completing the champions’ side are Inlayo, Susmita Ramos, Enzo Rivera, Jaja Andres, Paul Gonzales, and Althea Rio Fuentespina.

San Beda finished with the silver and the PhP 20,000 cash prize. Ateneo and PUP shared the bronze and each received PhP 10,000.

The eight-team tournament which served as preseason preparation for the participating UAAP and NCAA squads is organized by the Philippine Badminton Association, powered by SMART Communications, and supported by the MVP Sports Foundation, Ducksports, Young, and Apacs.

Contributed photo