University of the Philippines secured a share of the lead in the UAAP Season 86 Men’s Badminton tournament after clinching a 3-2 victory over their neighbor Ateneo de Manila University on Sunday at the Centro Atletico Badminton Center.
Smash Pilipinas standout Jelo Albo set the pace for the Fighting Maroons, marking their first victory against the Blue Eagles since Kyle Legaspi sent the squad into the Season 81 final over Carlo Remo.
“Happy kami sa team and thankful kami na pinagbigyan kami ni Lord ng isang panalo. Looking forward kami sa mga susunod pa na mabibigat na matches,” Fighting Maroons head coach Melvin Llanes said.
Albo, last season’s Rookie of the Year, teamed up with his senior Jason Vanzuela over Arthur Salvado Jr. and Lyrden Laborte, 21-12, 21-16, in clinching the tie in the second doubles match after he put UP on the board with a win over Salvado, 21-16, 21-18, in the opening singles rubber.
Laborte leveled the tie for Ateneo with a dominant performance over Charles Alcarpio in the second singles match, 21-11, 21-8. However, Michael Clemente and Johann Abinales restored UP’s advantage with a 21-16, 23-21 victory over Charles Bagasbas and Allen Panute in the first doubles rubber, sealing the victory.
Lance Vargas had the last say for the Blue Eagles with a 23-21, 21-13 win over Kervin Llanes to close out the day.
On the other hand, the defending seven-time champions, National University, extended the league’s longest winning streak to 58 with a 4-1 victory over De La Salle University.
Julius Villabrille and James Villarante celebrated their partnership’s return with a successful first doubles match, securing the tie with a convincing 21-9, 21-10 win over Joshua Morada and Yugin Tan. Rookie MJ Perez set the stage for his two seniors by winning the second singles match 21-18, 21-18 over Joshua Cuarte.
University of Santo Tomas collected the other win of the day, bouncing back with a dominant 5-0 victory over Adamson University.
Lennox Cuilao delivered a perfect performance, winning both of his matches for the Golden Shuttlers. He started the day with a 21-11, 21-9 victory over Nathaniel Acedillo before teaming up with Janzen Panisales to secure the rout in the second doubles match, 25-23, 21-17, against Kyles Corceura and David Isaac Libanan.
NU and UP will aim for their respective third wins of the season against UST and De La Salle, while Ateneo will look for a bounce-back against Adamson on Saturday at 8 a.m. at the same Cubao venue.