National University moved conspicuously close to winning its first UAAP crown in 25 years.
The NU men’s badminton team advanced to the finals following a 3-1 victory over Far Eastern University on Saturday at the Rizal Memorial Badminton Hall. Andrei Babad and Sonny Boy Montilla clinched the finals ticket for the Bulldogs after they beat Kevin Dalisay and Wilfredo Amoroso, 16-21, 21-13, 21-16, in the tie’s second doubles.
NU would have to wait awhile for its opponent in the finals.
Fourth-ranked Ateneo defeated No. 1 De La Salle, 3-1, to force a deciding tie for the other finals berth Sunday. The Green Archers had a twice-to-beat advantage in the semifinals.
“Happy kami kasi unexpected na nasa finals ang team. Pipilitin namin na manalo, nakukuha naman sa tiyaga” said NU coach Jojo Mance.
NU, a founding member of the 74-year-old league, last emerged champion in chess in 1986.
The Bulldogs won the first singles matches after Philip Jofer Escueta beat Dalisay, 21-17, 21-14, and Babad downed Amoroso, 21-19, 21-11. Jan Bautista and Rodrigo Balatbat kept FEU in contention by winning the first doubles over Escueta and Andrei delos Santos, 21-16, 21-16.
Ateneo’s No. 1 player Toby Gadi, meanwhile, beat Ronel Estanislao, 21-12, 21-11, in the first singles, and Pawee Natividad stopped John Monterubio in the second singles, 19-21, 21-16, 21-10. The Green Archers topped the first doubles with Estanislao and Jose Martinez beating Gadi and Justin Natividad, 21-14, 14-21, 21-18.
But Ateneo dashed De La Salle’s bid in the deciding doubles behind Pawee Natividad and Paulo Sunga’s 16-21, 22-20, 21-19 over Juan Angsico and Gerald Sibayan.
The championship is scheduled on September 20.