National University finished the qualifying round of the UAAP Season 85 men’s badminton tournament unscathed in five ties after fashioning out a 5-0 sweep of Finals rival Ateneo de Manila University, Saturday at the Centro Atletico Badminton Center in Cubao, Quezon City.
The Blue Eagles decided to rest its main guns Arthur Salvado, Lyrden Laborte, and Bryan Bernardo, while the Bulldogs still opted to use its main lineup.
National team stalwarts Solomon Padiz Jr. and Julius Villabrile secured NU’s 55th straight tie win since UAAP Season 85 with a comprehensive finish against Cody Torres and Jacinto Maliwat in two games, 21-9, 21-9, in the first doubles match.
The Bulldogs started with their rookies Lanz Zafra and Mark Anthony Velasco taking care of the first two singles matches. Zafra dominated Torres, 21-4, 21-7, while Velasco took down Justine Vanzuela, 21-9, 21-7.
With the tie secured, the two then teamed up for the second doubles victory over Charles Bagasbas and Vanzuela, 21-14, 21-17, before Padiz Jr. completed the sweep against Miguel Busuego, 21-11, 21-13, in the final singles rubber.
“Actually, happy pa rin kasi yung streak namin tuluy-tuloy pa rin. Hindi rin naman kami mag-rerelax today kasi yung finals is tomorrow. Like what we always say sa mga players namin, until matapos yung UAAP, dapat all-out kami,” NU assistant coach Kevin Dalisay said of the win.
The Bulldogs and the Blue Eagles will duel for the championship on Sunday at 8 a.m.
On the other hand, University of the Philippines snapped its two-tie slide after a 3-2 victory against University of Santo Tomas in a prelude to their third-place playoff.
Kervin Llanes made amends on his first singles defeat, partnering with Charles Alcarpio for the second doubles win over Lanz Ramirez and Ron Sarmiento, 21-17, 22-20.
The Tiger Shuttlers took the upper hand with Sean Dela Cruz over Llanes, 21-19, 23-21, but Jelo Albo leveled the tie with a comprehensive work of Lennox Cuilao, 21-18, 21-12. Albo and Jason Vanzuela then put the Fighting Maroons in the driver’s seat with a 21-12, 21-16 win in the first doubles over the erstwhile unbeaten pair of Janzen Panisales and RJ Galve.
UP, though, might miss Alcarpio in the third-place playoff as he suffered a left Achilles tendon injury in the third singles match.
The other tie saw De La Salle University ending its season with a win against Adamson University, 5-0, with Eljee Gavile and Yuan Tan taking the victory in the first doubles match, 21-16, 22-20.
Bless Linaban and James Estrada made it 2-0 earlier with wins in the first singles matches. Linaban defeated Harold Bonilla, 21-13, 19-21, 21-19, while Estrada won over CL Garcia, 21-11, 21-16.
The Fighting Maroons and the Tiger Shuttlers will battle for the bronze at the same time.