NU, Ateneo bag UAAP Season 81 badminton crowns
MANILA, Philippines – National University bagged its fifth straight championship following a 3-0 romp of University of the Philippines in the UAAP Season 81 badminton tournament on Friday, October 12, at the Rizal Memorial Badminton Hall.
The Bulldogs, who nipped the Fighting Maroons, 3-2, in last Wednesday's finals opener, also completed their fifth straight perfect season to extend their streak to 43 ties dating back from 2014.
"Maganda ang team bonding din namin. This is my final playing year so itinodo ko na para makuha ko yung goal na five-peat. Ang panalong ito ay para sa National University," said Mike Minuluan, the season MVP.
"Tulungan lang. Team work lang," he added.
(We have a good team boding. This is my final playing year so I really gave it my all so we could achieve our five-peat goal. This win is for National University. It was really all about team work.)
The Bulldogs boast the most successful men's badminton program in the league with 6 championships overall in the last 7 seasons.
Ros Lee Pedrosa carved out a 21-17, 21-14 win over JM Bernardo in the opening singles before Minuluan bested Michael Clemente, 21-12, 21-14, in the second singles to put NU ahead.
Alvin Morada and Alem Palmares then sealed the title for the Bulldogs by prevailing over Betong Pineda and Harvey Tungul, 21-15, 21-17, in the first doubles.
Among the graduating NU standouts who are part of this dynasty are Morada and Pedrosa, who were previous MVP winners.
Kyle Legaspi, who carried UP to its second straight finals appearance by winning the deciding singles in their stepladder duel with Ateneo, was named Rookie of the Year.
Ateneo women's back on top
Ateneo capped a Cinderella run by annexing its fourth women's title – and the first in 5 years – with a 3-0 conquest of UP.
Chanelle Lunod took 79 minutes to beat Poca Alcala, 21-19, 14-21, 21-16, in the first singles before the Lady Eagles got the needed buffer as Samantha Ramos rallied from a set down to dispose of Jessie Francisco, 16-21, 21-17, 21-16, in the second singles.
Lunod and Geva de Vera, who later became co-tournament MVPs, dominated Leah Inlayo and Mary Ann Marañon, 21-13, 21-8, in the first doubles to seal the deal for Ateneo.
In the finals opener, the Lady Eagles stunned the Lady Maroons, 3-2.
Before sweeping top-ranked UP, Ateneo overcame NU's twice-to-beat advantage in the Final Four to advance to the title round after missing the bus last year.
The Lady Eagles last ruled in 2013 behind Rookie-MVP Jana de Vera, Geva's sister.
Sarah Joy Barredo of the Lady Bulldogs was named top rookie. – Rappler.com