HERO FALLS. Badminton Head Coach Jojo Mance comforts ace player Jeff Orsolino after bowing to San Beda Red Smashers. Photo by Luis Alfonso Tamondong
The Letran Shuttlers failed to defend both their juniors and seniors’ championship title in the badminton tournament of the 93rd Season of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) at the Rizal Memorial Badminton Hall last September 24.
The senior’s team composed of Mark Sabarre, Nephtali Pineda, Joma Martinez, and Jeff Orsolino tumbled to retain their coveted title after the San Beda Red Smashers pulled off a come-from-behind 2-1 win.
Two-time Most Valuable Player Sabarre hammered San Beda's Jovan Cruz in the first singles match of the finals, 21-14, 21-12. However, Letran lost the upper hand in the doubles event as Pineda and Martinez were outplayed by foes Jade Carillo and Haniel Cagampan, 21-15, 23-21.
The Red Smashers then sealed redemption after newly hailed MVP James Choo swept Letran’s Orsolino in the second singles match, 21-15, 21-11.
“Pinilit ko manalo para makuha namin ‘yung kumpyansa,” said Sabarre after winning in the first singles match.
“[Pero] ‘di talaga natin masasabi ‘yung panalo tsaka talo. Sa laban handa ka manalo at handa ka din dapat matalo,” he added. “Pero nakita ko din naman na lumaban ‘yung mga teammates ko,”
Despite the loss, head coach Jojo Mance still expressed his appreciation to the team’s overall performance this season.
“Maganda 'yung pinakita nila talagang may puso naman kaya lang talaga hindi namin makuha yung mga break na dapat sa amin,” he said.
Next season, Mance will be looking for possible players in replacement to Sabarre and team captain Pineda who already played their last season in the NCAA.
“Talagang mahirap pero pipilitin kong makakuha pa ng players,” Mance ended.
Meanwhile, the Letran juniors’ squad also faced a ruthless defeat, 2-0, against the same team from Mendiola.