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UAAP 86 Badminton: MJ Perez delivers vs UP in decider, lifts NU to win no. 60

National University extended the UAAP’s longest current winning streak to 60 by defeating fellow semifinalist University of the Philippines, 3-2, on Sunday at the Centro Atletico Badminton Center.

It all came down to a battle of rookies in the deciding singles match, as MJ Perez fended off Johann Abinales in the second game to secure a 21-9, 26-24 victory and the Bulldogs’ fourth consecutive win this season.

“Happy ako kasi hindi ko in-expect na magpeperform ‘yung rookie ko. Masaya ko na nakuha namin ‘yung panalo sa dami ng nangyari,” NU head coach Jaime Llanes said.

The day began with a dramatic turn of events in this intense matchup of unbeaten squads.

NU’s Mark Velasco handed last season’s Rookie of the Year Jelo Albo his first loss in the UAAP, winning 21-19, 12-21, 21-19 in a controversial deciding set.

Leading 19-18, NU’s no. 2 men’s singles player Velasco went for the line and barely made it, according to the line judge, leading to contention from the UP coaches. The call stood, and Velasco eventually won the match.

Kervin Llanes then stunned reigning MVP Solomon Padiz Jr., winning 17-21, 21-8, 21-13, to level the tie.

Julius Villabrille and James Villarante needed to win the first doubles match since Velasco suffered severe cramps and couldn’t continue for the second doubles with Padiz. The national team pool members did so with a quick 21-13, 21-16 victory over Micheal Clemente and Abinales.

The second doubles match was awarded to UP’s Albo and Jason Vanzuela, setting up the decider.

The Bulldogs will face Ateneo de Manila University in a rematch of last year’s final, with the Blue Eagles coming off a convincing 5-0 win over Adamson University.

#ReadMore  UAAP 86 WBB: Ozar shines as UP escapes FEU for solo lead

The battle is scheduled for Wednesday at 8 a.m. at the same Cubao venue.

Lyrden Laborte and Arthur Salvado Jr. secured the victory and the Final Four berth for Ateneo with a 21-10, 21-18 conquest over Sean Dela Cruz and John Dizon.

Lance Vargas also made his doubles debut in the UAAP with a 19-21, 21-16, 21-14 win alongside Charles Bagasbas over Lennox Cuilao and Janzen Panisales in the second doubles rubber.

De La Salle University secured its first victory of the season, with a 5-0 rout of Adamson University, who had three defeats.

Yuan Yan and Yugin Tan secured the win for the Green Shuttlers with a 26-24, 22-20 victory over Noel Hernandez and Gabrielle Ganoy in the first doubles match.

DLSU and UST will compete for the remaining Final Four spot, while UP will seek a bounce-back victory when it faces Adamson in the remaining matches of the qualifying round on Wednesday.

Grew to appreciate various sports from tennis to judo. True-maroon kiddo since the new millennium. Fanboy. Singer. Occasional sports writer.

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