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Tiebreaker Times


UAAP 86 Badminton: NU, UP clinch Final Four slots ahead of clash

Defending, seven-time champion National University and University of the Philippines turned down their respective foes to secure two of the Final Four berths in the UAAP Season 86 Men’s Badminton tournament on Saturday at the Centro Atletico Badminton Center.

Tied at 3-0, the Bulldogs and the Fighting Maroons will compete for the top spot on Sunday at 8:00 AM, still at the same Cubao venue.

NU extended the league’s longest undefeated streak to 59 with a 3-2 win over University of Santo Tomas, thanks to a 21-13, 21-10 domination from James Villarante and MJ Perez over Kyle Basilio and Munir Bartolome in the second doubles match.

Mark Velasco is the country’s No. 2 men’s singles player in the most recent Philippine Badminton Association rankings. But he had to fend off Basilio in the opening singles rubber, winning 21-10, 20-22, 21-15 to put the reigning seven-time champions on the board.

However, Lennox Cuilao leveled the tie for UST with a 17-21, 21-11, 21-15 reversal against Perez.

“We started slow kanina because the first singles match started slowly. The first match is important because it affects the entire team. I just told them we need to prepare and start better against UP tomorrow,” NU head coach Jaime Llanes said.

National team stalwarts Solomon Padiz Jr. and Julius Villabrille, who are the second-ranked men’s doubles team in the country.

They then restored the lead for the Bulldogs with a 21-17, 21-17 sweep of Janzen Jeon Panisales and John Dizon, setting up Villarante and Perez for the finish.

Sean Dela Cruz won the last singles match for UST, 18-21, 21-16, 21-18 over Miko Mosarbas.

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On the other hand, the Fighting Maroons swept De La Salle University 5-0 to keep pace with NU at the top of the standings, with Michael Clemente and Johann Abinales once again sealing the deal.

Clemente and Abinales won with similar 21-16, 21-16 games over Joshua Morada and Jeff Cruz to secure the victory, wrapping up the dominant wins of Kervin Llanes over Jason Pajarillo, 21-12, 21-18; and Jelo Albo against James Estrada, 21-10, 21-8, in the first two singles matches.

“Ang maganda lang is ‘yung players nakapag-adjust na after the first week. Yung laban against NU bukas will boil down dun sa fielding ng players. Sana tama ‘yung maging basa namin sa lineups bukas,” UP head coach Melvin Llanes said.

Albo and Jason Vanzuela made it four in a row past Yuan Tan and Yugin Tan, 21-17, 21-18, in the second doubles match.

Then JM Estrada broke through with his first UAAP win against James Capin, 21-16, 21-13, to cap off the day.

Ateneo de Manila University took the other win of the day, a quick 5-0 victory over Adamson University for its second win against one defeat.

Arthur Salvado Jr. and Lyrden Laborte secured the win with a 21-11, 21-15 clinic against Noel Hernandez and Gabrielle Ganoy.

In the other pairings on Sunday, Ateneo will try to follow NU and UP into the semis against an equally capable UST side.

Meanwhile, Adamson and De La Salle will battle for a first win in the remaining match.

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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