National University outlasted University of the Philippines, 3-2, to move closer in carving out a men's five-peat Wednesday in the UAAP Season 81 badminton tournament.
The Fighting Maroons gave the Bulldogs a tough battle in the rematch of last year's Finals before yielding the opener.
JM Bernardo fashioned a 21-16, 21-14 conquest of Ros Lee Pedrosa in the opening singles to put UP before NU leveled with Mike Minuluan scoring a 21-15, 21-8 win over rookie Kyle Legaspi.
After the Bulldogs took the upperhand via Alvin Morada and Alem Palmares' 21-11, 21-14 victory over Betong Pineda and Harvey Tungul in the first doubles, the Maroons sent the tie to a decider, as Bernardo and Vinci Manuel prevailed over Minuluan and Pedrosa, 21-17, 21-19, in the second doubles.
Morada, the reigning MVP, pulled off a 21-15, 21-14 win over Michael Clemente in the deciding singles to seal the deal for NU, which extended its winning run to 42 ties.
The Bulldogs, seeking their sixth title overall in the last seven years, go for the jugular on Friday at 8 a.m. at the Rizal Memorial Badminton Hall.