Antonino Gadi and Bianca Carlos brace for their toughest challenge in their bid for a sweep of their respective titles in the VP Binay Grand Prix Badminton Open Championships-PBaRS 4th leg which unwraps Sunday (Oct. 23) at Powersmash in Makati.
The duo ruled the first three legs of the national ranking circuit in Manila, Bacolod and Davao with Gadi lording it over the field in the centerpiece men’s Open singles, beating Patrick Natividad in the first leg then mastering Paul Vivas in the next two to stake his claim as the country’s leading player.
Carlos, on the other hand, has been peerless in the girls Under-19 category, humbling Nikki Servando, Ana Barredo and Janelle de Vera to install herself as the player to beat in the upcoming tournament co-presented by MVP Sports Foundation and Robinsons Land.
But with Malvinne Alcala confirming her appearance in the event, the road to glory could be bumpy for Carlos, the talented 16-year-old shuttler from St. Paul College of Pasig who nevertheless vowed to give her best shot to complete a dream sweep.
Keen competition is also expected in the other categories of the week-long event capping the nationwide circuit that ranks players according to their strength and performance with Alcala also fancied to lead the chase in the ladies Open singles against third leg champion Gelita Castilo and Carlos.
Alcala, the reigning Singapore and Australian Juniors champion, didn’t see action in the kickoff leg but ruled the second stage then skipped the third leg again to honor her commitments abroad as member of the Asian Development Team under the Badminton Asia Confederation.
In the boys U-19 singles, Joper Escueta, winner of the first two legs, tries to re-claim the crown after failing to land in the finals which the third leg in Davao, topped by Justin Natividad over Jason Oba-ob.
Other events on tap in the tournament, put up by Vice President and Philippine Badminton Association president Jejomar Binay, Rep. Albee Benitez and businessman-sportsman Manny Pangilinan to bring the sport to a higher level and produce world-class players, are the doubles and mixed doubles events in the Open and U-19 classes and the singles, doubles and mixed doubles in the Under-15 divisions.
At stake in the Open class of the event, sponsored by PLDT Smart Foundation, Robinsons Mall, Gatorade and official equipment sponsor Victor, exclusively distributed by PCOME Industrial Sales, Inc., are P70,000 while the U-19 and U-15 winners will receive P20,000 and P10,000, respectively.
The event is organized by the Philippine Badminton Ranking System and backed by media partners are The Philippine STAR, TV5, Badminton Extreme Philippines Magazine, Jam 88.3, Wave 89.1, Magic 89.9, 99.5 RT and 103.5 WOW! and TV-5.(pr)