Badminton

NU shuttlers extend record UAAP win streak to 60 

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NU shuttlers extend record UAAP win streak to 60 

FOCUSED. NU rookie MJ Perez in action in the UAAP men's badminton tournament.

UAAP SEASON 86 MEDIA TEAM

There’s still no stopping the NU men’s badminton players as they stretch their perfect run to 60, the longest active winning streak in the UAAP

MANILA, Philippines – National University overcame a tough challenge in UAAP men’s badminton to keep its record run going. 

The NU Bulldogs, who hold the longest active winning streak in the league, extended their unbeaten run to 60, but not after outlasting the gritty University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons, 3-2, on Sunday, November 5, at the Centro Atletico Badminton Center.

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

“I’m happy because I didn’t expect our rookie to perform,” NU head coach Jaime Llanes said in Filipino. “I’m happy that we got the win after everything that happened.”

With the victory, the Bulldogs – who are vying for their eighth straight championship – grabbed the solo top spot at 4-0 and dealt the Maroons their first loss. 

UP fell into a share of second with Ateneo at 3-1. The top three teams already secured their spots in the Final Four. 

NU also holds the all-time winning streak record in the UAAP with the women’s basketball team winning 108 straight games from 2014 to 2022. 

Adamson softball owns the second-longest record with a 73-game winning streak that ended in 2016.

Controversial set

The NU-UP battle began with a dramatic turn of events, fueling right away an intense matchup between two 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, prompting the UP coaches to contest the call. 

The decision stood, and Velasco eventually won the match.

UP’s 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.

Finals rematch

The Bulldogs will face Ateneo next in a rematch of last year’s finals, with the Blue Eagles coming off a convincing 5-0 win over the UST Tiger Shuttlers.

The battle is scheduled at 8 am on Wednesday, November 8, 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.

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

La Salle, meanwhile, secured its first victory of the season, with a 5-0 rout of winless Adamson.

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.

La Salle 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. – Rappler.com

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