National University shuttlers once again reigned supreme in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines men’s badminton.
The star-studded Bulldogs proved to be invincible despite the sport’s two-year hiatus in the UAAP calendar as they completed a perfect Season 85 for a seven-peat after blanking Ateneo de Manila University, 3-0, in the Finals at the Centro Atletico Badminton Center in Cubao, Quezon City yesterday.
NU gave no quarter to the Blue Eagles for its sixth straight win of the season and 56th tie win in a row since 2014.
National team stalwarts Solomon Padiz Jr. and Julius Villabrille secured the title for the Bulldogs in the first doubles match after a sweet sweep, 21-13, 21-10, over Bryan Bernardo and Charles Bagasbas.
“I am very happy for my boys, the way they performed, the camaraderie which is stronger than before. (I’m) very satisfied with the performance,” NU head coach Jaime Llanes said after his squad delivered the team’s eighth title overall and first gold medal for the school this season.
Rookie Lanz Zafra earlier put the Bulldogs on top with a swift 21-13, 21-13 first singles conquest of Lyrden Laborte.
Another NU newbie in Mark Anthony Velasco gave the Bulldogs a 2-0 lead after upending Ateneo captain Arthur Salvado in the second singles match, 21-18, 10-21, 21-14.
Bulldogs skipper Padiz Jr. and Zafra were hailed as co-Most Valuable Players of the season.
“We’re very happy about this championship because we really worked hard for this. We supported each other and as the saying goes ‘There’s no I in team,’” Padiz Jr. said.
Meanwhile, University of the Philippines salvaged a podium finish after frustrating University of Santo Tomas, 3-1, in the third-place playoff.
Rookie Enzo Rivera and Kervin Llanes pocketed the Fighting Maroons’ bronze with a decisive win over Janzen Panisales and RJ Galve, 19-21, 21-12, 23-21, in the second doubles match.