JOFER Escueta powered National University’s 3-2 victory over Ateneo to clinch the men’s title Wednesday in the UAAP Season 75 badminton tournament at the Rizal Memorial Badminton Hall.
Teamed up with Aries Delos Santos, Escueta led the Bulldogs to a 15-21, 21-16, 21-14 win over Toby Gadi and Patrick Natividad in the second doubles to send the game to a decider.
Escueta then drubbed Justin Natividad, 21-5, 21-6, in the third singles to seal the championship for NU.
The Bulldogs’ victory avenged their loss to the Blue Eagles in the Finals last season.
“Although sobrang pressured, maganda ang showing ng mga players ko. Hindi mo masasabi up to the last game na mananalo ka,” said a jubilant NU coach Jojo Mance. “Talagang ibinuhos talaga nila, kailangan talaga ng puso para manalo.”
Escueta, a national team mainstay, was adjudged as the season MVP.
Just like in Game Two, the Bulldogs stared at a 0-2 hole but the Bustillos-based shuttlers did not easily gave up the fight.
Ateneo took the first two singles matches, as Patrick Natividad defeated Jayson Oba-ob, 21-16, 21-15, while Gadi beat Andrei Babad, 21-17, 21-13.
The duo of Babad and Oba-ob halted the Eagles’ momentum, as they crushed JC Carlos and Arlo Madrid, 21-8, 21-8, in the first doubles.
NU finished its season with a 9-1 record, the only loss came in the Finals opener, where Ateneo scored a stunning 3-0 victory.
Carlos Cayanan and John Kenneth Monterubio of second runner-up La Salle were named as the Rookie of the Year and Most Improved Player respectively.