NATIONAL University halted Ateneo's run of four victories in the playoffs with a 3-0 win on Wednesday, moving closer to a three-peat in UAAP badminton.
Mike Minuluan and Alem Palmares bested the Blue Eagles pair of Jan Mangubat and Hanz Bernardo, 17-21, 21-13, 21-18, in the first doubles to help the Bulldogs extend their winning streak to 26 ties.
Keeyan Gabuelo defeated Mangubat, 21-10, 14-21, 21-17, in the first singles, while Leenard Pedrosa whipped Bernardo, 21-19, 21-10, in the second singles for NU.
The Bulldogs hope to close it out and win their fourth title in the last five years on Saturday morning at the Rizal Memorial Badminton Hall. A third encounter, if necessary, will be held on the next day.
Now facing another do-or-die situation, Ateneo hopes to reprise its step-ladder run where it beat University of Sto. Tomas, La Salle and twice-to-beat UP to advance in the title round.
Meanwhile, University of the Philippines forged a women's championship decider with a 3-2 win over Ateneo.
Poca Alcala sealed the deal for the Lady Maroons in the third singles with a 21-10, 21-14 thumping of Trixie Malibiran.
They meet again on Saturday, with UP seeking a third consecutive title.
The Lady Eagles took the first two singles matches, as Sam Ramos stunned Mary Ann Marañon, 21-11, 21-14, and Bianca Carlos whipped Gelita Castilo, 21-15, 21-15.
Drawing strength from their doubles, the Lady Maroons stormed back as Alcala and Jessie Francisco beat Geva de Vera and Cassie Lim, 21-13, 21-13, while Castilo and Lea Inlayo rallied from a set down to thwart Carlos and Chanelle Lunod, 20-22, 21-16, 21-12.