DEFENDING champion Ateneo de Manila University started its title-retention bid with a narrow win as it nipped arch-rival De La Salle University, 3-2, in the season opener of the 75th UAAP badminton at the Rizal Memorial Badminton Hall on Saturday.
Reigning MVP Tobi Gadi won 21-16, 21-5 over JC Clarito in the first men’s singles and Patrick Natividad made it 2-0 for the Blue Eagles by downing Lance Bautista, 21-14, 21-17 in the second singles.
John Kenneth Monterubio defeated Justin Natividad 21-10, 21-15 in the third singles to give the Green Archers a ray of hope.
La Salle's Ronel Estanilao and Carlos Cayanan boosted their team's chances as they crushed Rafael Alonzo and Miko Malilin, 21-7, 21-9, in the first doubles.
But in the second doubles, Gadi and Natividad sealed the win for Ateneo after escaping last year’s top rookie Gerald Sibayan and Clarito, 21-19, 21-9.
Meanwhile, Season 74 runner-up National University outplayed Far Eastern University, 4-1.
In the singles’ matchups, Joper Escueta whipped Wilfredo Amoroso Jr. 21-11, 21-19, while Emmanuel Garcia dominated Diosdado Abaugan, 21-18, 17-21, 21-18, and Andrei Babad defeated Michael Kevin Audanat, 21-12, 21-16.
In the first doubles, Escueta and Babad teamed up in pounding Joel Christian Mendez and Shadrach Niko Saquin, 21-16, 21-12.
FEU’s Wilfred Amoroso and Ian Bautista prevented a shutout as they beat Garcia and Aries De Los Santos, 21-16, 21-17, in the second doubles.
University of Santo Tomas, meanwhile, dominated University of the East, 5-0, and University of the Philippines tripped Adamson, 3-2.
In the women’s play, La Salle clobbered defending champion University of the East 5-0 highlighted by a huge 18-21, 21-12, 21-11 win by Danica San Ignacio over May Pamorada of UE and a 21-17, 21-17 triumph by Danica Bolos over Rochelle Andres.
In the doubles match Aries Montilla and Kristelle Salatan trounced Kim Gatpolintan and Diane Castro 21-11, 21-16.
University of Santo Tomas was enjoying a 2-0 lead until National University won in first and second doubles to force a decider.
Lovely Magallano outlasted Ellaine Vinluan in the third singles match 21-16, 18-21, 22-20 to give the Lady Bulldogs a 3-2 win.