National University leaned on rookie Solomon Padiz Jr. and graduating senior Keeyan Gabuelo to beat Ateneo 3-1 in Quezon City on Saturday and secure their sixth consecutive UAAP men's badminton title.
After failing to finish the match in the second game despite three match points, the Bulldogs pair closed out the series at PNP Sports Center Badminton Courts with a huge 21-14 win in the final game over Keoni Asuncion and Arthur Salvado.
"Lagi silang nakaka-encounter nu'ng ganun situation. Kung kelan malapit na, doon sila nape-pressure," NU coach Jaime Llanes said.
Gabuelo and Padiz opened the second doubles match with a 21-17 win before Asuncion and Salvado snagged the second 23-21.
With their spectacular campaign, Gabuelo was named the Most Valuable Player while Padiz took Rookie of the Year honors.
The win is the Bulldogs' 51st straight dating back to UAAP Season 77. Moreover, NU tied Ateneo for the UAAP most badminton championships with six.
Padiz leveled the tie after stunning Asuncion 21-9, 21-14, in the second singles match, before fellow freshmen James Villarante and Julius Villabrille sent NU to the brink of the championship with a 21-18, 23-21 decision over Geno Cariño and Fides Bagasbas.
Ateneo captain Bagasbas opened the day with an upset of opposing skipper Gabuelo, 21-19, 11-21, 21-18, in the first singles rubber.
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