Ateneo de Manila University broke through with a four-peat in style and it is at the expense of rival University of the Philippines.
Mika De Guzman and Jochelle Alvarez steered the Blue Eagles to a 3-1 victory against the Fighting Maroons to keep the UAAP Women’s Badminton crown in their side of Katipunan on Sunday, Nov. 12, at the packed Centro Atletico Badminton Center.
De Guzman and Alvarez were crowned co-Most Valuable Players.
“I’m very happy of how we played with heart not just today, but throughout the season. As I always say, when you play with heart, you can never go wrong,” Ateneo captain and two-time MVP De Guzman said.
“I am proud of everyone because this four-peat is not just an individual thing but everyone really put in the effort to win this championship,” the country’s No. 2 women’s singles player added.
De Guzman and Alvarez flexed their dominance over UP captains Andrea Abalos and Patricia De Dios, 21-7, 21-12, in the second doubles match to secure the tiara, in a similar manner to their previous 3-2 outing in the eliminations.
Ateneo pushed its tally to seven championships in the women’s division — just one behind UP’s eight.
Moreover, the championship completed a golden double for the university just hours after the men’s team snapped long-time champion National University’s seven-year reign.
This is the third instance Ateneo won both the men’s and women’s division titles in a single season following Seasons 66 and 76.
Arthur Salvado and Lyrden Laborte were hailed as co-MVPs in the men’s division while Lance Vargas, the hero in Ateneo’s conquest, was fittingly crowned the Rookie of the Year.
The two Blue Eagles earlier put the squad into the 2-0 advantage after the two singles matches with Alvarez pulling off a revenge win against Susmita Ramos, 14-21, 21-16, 21-16, and De Guzman stamping her class against last year’s top rookie Anthea Gonzalez, 21-11, 21-11.
Ramos and Gonzalez made a stand and took one back for the Fighting Maroons with a dominant 21-8, 21-16 win over Missy Cervantes and Angel Valle, but that was all UP could manage as Ateneo eventually finished the battle.
“Of course, I’m very happy. Every year was different; the preparation and the pressure were different. The girls took that pressure and managed it, and I’m so happy that they did well,” Ateneo head coach Kennie Asuncion said.
Niesha De Guzman, Feeby Ferrer, and Maxene Olango complete the Ateneo team.
National University, on the other hand, finished third for the third consecutive season after denying University of Santo Tomas, 3-1, in their playoff tie.
Fittingly, it was the country’s No. 3 women’s doubles pair Jeya Pinlac and Gwyneth Desacola that secured the bronze for the Lady Bulldogs.
The NU seniors took down this season’s Rookie of the Year, Patricia De Leon, and Marielle Alvarez, 21-16, 21-8, in the second doubles match, after Rhafi Santos and Jennifer Saladaga averted the sweep and took one for UST, 20-22, 21-11, 21-19 over Sarah Barredo and Lee-Ann De Leon in the previous doubles rubber.
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