Malvinne Alcala and Antonino Gadi hacked out a pair of three-setters over their respective rivals to cop the Open singles crowns while Bianca Carlos and Joper Escueta retained their Under-19 singles titles in the MVP Sports Foundation-Bingo Bonanza Philippine Badminton Ranking System (PBaRS) tournament at the Pohang Badminton Courts in Bacolod City, Sunday.
Dragged into the deciding sets by their equally talented foes, Alcala and Gadi poured it all out in the end and came away with big wins over Gelita Castilo and Paul Vivas, respectively, to rule the premier division of the P1 million event and pocket P70,000 each.
Alcala, the reigning Singapore and Australian Juniors champion who missed the kickoff leg of the four-stage circuit put up by the Philippine Badminton Association, headed by Vice President Jejomar Binay, Rep. Albee Benitez and businessman-sportsman Manny V. Pangilinan, fought back from an opening set loss with a scary win in the second then outplayed Castilo in the decider to complete a 15-21, 21-19, 21-10 victory.
Gadi, on the other hand, wavered in the second set after a scrambling first set win but regained his form in the third to fashion out a 21-17, 16-21, 21-12 triumph and keep the crown he won over Patrick Natividad in the inaugurals of the event, backed by official equipment sponsor Victor, exclusively distributed by PCOME Industrial Sales, Inc., last March.
Carlos, meanwhile, made up for her loss of the Open diadem with a 21-10, 21-15 victory over Ana Patricia Barredo to repeat as champion in the U-19 girls division of the weeklong ranking tournament supported by by PLDT-Smart Foundation, 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.
Escueta likewise kept the U-19 boys crown with a 21-12, 21-12 romp over John Kenneth Monterubio. Carlos and Escueta took home P20,000 each.
Malvinne’s brother Markie Alcala repeated over Alvin Morada, 21-19, 21-18, to retain the boys Under-15 plum while third seed Samantha Ramos of Golden Shuttle Foundation upended second seed Allysa Leonardo, 21-17, 21-9, to capture the crown in the girls U-15 category where she finished joint third the first time out. Alcala and Ramos won P10,000 each.
Meanwhile, the third leg of the event, aimed at raising the level of play in the country and at the same time coming up with a truly national ranking system that would be used to determine the players who will compose the national team to various international competitions, will be held July 31-Aug. 6 in Davao with the last stage, the VP Grand Prix Badminton Open Championships, slated Oct. 22-29 in Manila.PR