Published on August 30th, 2014 | by DLSU Sports0
Green Shuttlers return to the finals after sweeping Ateneo
There was no need to use the twice-to-beat advantage for the Green Shuttlers resoundingly ousted last season’s champions Ateneo, 3-0, Sunday morning at the Rizal Memorial Badminton Courts.
Unlike in the elimination round when all five games have to be played, the playoffs institute a race to three affair.
Gerald Sibayan, Kenneth Monterubio, and Anton Cayanan displayed flamboyant badminton early on to keep the match within the minimum number of games.
“Kinausap ko na sila na hanggang sa maaari ‘yung singles’ muna kami magfocus,” said Coach Owen Lopez, who knows that it’s going to be a tight battle between individual players.
Sibayan faced Pawee Natividad in the first game. He took control of the match by grabbing the first set, 21-16. The Atenean responded by levelling the match with a 21-17 second set win. Going down the wire, Sibayan avoided surrendering the match the way he did when the last two teams met. Just like the first set, he won 21-16 to swing momentum in favour of La Salle.
Next came Kenneth Monterubio who went against Carlo Remo. Just like his teammate, he needed three sets to dispose his rival. Their match was closer than the previous one but the result was the same with Monterubio scraping a 21-16, 18-21, 21-19 win.
Only needing to win one more game, La Salle, bannered by Sibayan and Cayanan, flourished against brothers Justin and Pawee Natividad. It only took the tandem in green two sets, 21-17, 21-13, to book their ticket to a finals date with National University, holders of a massive thrice-to-beat incentive.
“Ready naman sila palagi as long as hindi sila masyadong magrelax,” he told of his players in terms challenge of facing unbeaten NU. He hopes that the team will be better pprepared against their friends in NU who are also their teammates in the national team pool.
However, for now at least, Lopez and his players are relishing the moment of entering the finals after being denied repeatedly in the past few years.