A power-packed cast, headed by the Sudirman Cup campaigners, plunges into action beginning today (Tuesday, May 31), all looking for a strong start in their quest for top honors and ranking points in the second leg of the MVP Sports Foundation-Bingo Bonanza Philippine Badminton Ranking System (PBaRS) tournament at the Pohang Badminton Courts in Bacolod City.
Malvinne Ann Alcala, Bianca Carlos, Gelita Castilo, Antonino Gadi, Joper Escueta and Peter Magnaye, who steered Team Philippines to a runner-up finish in Level 4 of the just-concluded Sudirman Cup in China, will be the marked players in the week-long tournament which also features a number of rising stars and fresh faces out to spoil the fancied bets’ bids.
Alcala, 16, will be making her debut in the P1 million event after skipping the inaugurals last March to compete abroad, ensuring top-notch, slambang action in the girls side of the tournament, a project of Vice President Jejomar Binay, Rep. Albee Benitez and businessman-sportsman Manny Pangilinan.
Carlos swept the Ope and Under-19 titles plus the girls doubles plum in the kickoff leg of the four-stage nationwide circuit but the Golden Shuttle Foundation bet will have her hands full this time with the entry of Alcala and the rest of the country’s leading players raring to contend for the crown and ranking points.
The event, sanctioned by the Philippine Olympic Committee, the Philippine Sports Commission and the Philippine Badminton Association, also offers big prizes with the winners in the Open class receiving P70,000 purse and the victors in the U-19 and U-15 divisions getting P20,000 and P10,000, respectively.
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The PBaRS series of nationwide tournaments, backed by PLDT-Smart Foundation, Victor PCOME Industrial Sales, Gatorade and Powersmash with The Philippine STAR, TV5, Badminton Extreme Philippines Magazine, Jam 88.3, Wave 89.1, Magic 89.9, 99.5 RT and 103.5 WOW! as media partners, is aimed at ranking the players according to their strength and at the same time raise the level of play in the country and produce world-class players.
Events on tap are the singles, men’s and ladies doubles and mixed doubles events in the Open, U-19 and U-15 divisions.
Also in the ladies fold are La Salle’s Danica Bolos, Reyne Calimlim and Pauline Ramos. Iloilo’s Annelyn Alba and Camille Burgos, Bulacan’s Ana Fajardo, Kathleen Balatbat, Jamila Cruz of Victor-Pcome, and Escoses Training Camp’s Pamela Lim and Cassandra Lim.
Gadi, winner of the Open men’s crown, will be challenged by the likes of Escueta, Magnaye, Paul Vivas, Kevin Dalisay, Aries delos Santos and Gabriel Villanueva, Patrick Natividad of GSF, La Salle’s Kevin Ponciano and Miguel Angsico, and Lloyd Escoses, Edson Malaki and and Christian Torres, Iloilo’s Francis Espanoloa and Ivan Nery and Team Prima’s Sonny Montilla, Rabie Oba-ob, Kevin Cudiamat.
Davao will host the other regional tournament on July 31-Aug. 6 with the nationwide circuit winding up with the VP Grand Prix Badminton Open Championships on Oct. 22-29 in Manila. PR