Paolo Lorenzo Sunga produced the worthiest win in the VP Binay Grand Prix Badminton Open Championships-PBaRS fourth leg, bundling out second seed Paul Vivas with a shock 21-19, 21-19 victory Wednesday to crash into the quarterfinal round of the men’s Open singles at Powersmash in Makati.
Sunga, whose best finish in the national ranking circuit was ninth in the second leg in Bacolod, baffled the fancied Vivas with an array of shots then outsteadied the back-to-back runner-up in a thrilling duel in the premier division of the week-long P1 million tournament co-presented by MVP Sports Foundation and Robinsons Land.
The graduating psychology student and member of this year’s UAAP champion Ateneo squad hopes to sustain his big run as he seeks a spot in the semis against Whackers BA/Lining Ralph Mendez, who clipped Ronel Estanislao, 21-15, 21-16, in the event put up by Vice President and PBA president Jejomar Binay, Rep. Albee Benitez and businessman-sportsman Manny Pangilinan.
Top seed and four-peat seeking Toby Gadi survived a first-set stunner and went on to hack out a 22-24, 21-10, 21-10 win over Wilfredo Amoroso to set up a quarters duel with Phl-Victor Andrei Babad, who held off Sonny Boy Montilla, 21-11, 21-19, while Joper Escueta, Randolph Balatbat, Wilfred Natividad and Gabriel Magnaye took the four other quarters berths with contrasting victories.
Escueta, the No. 4 seed of Phl-Victor Prima, overwhelmed Charlo Tengco, 21-12, 21-9, for a duel with Balatbat, who stopped giant killer R-Jay Ormilla, 19-21, 21-18, 21-19, while Natividad booted out Carlos Cayanan, 21-17, 21-14, for a clash with No. 3 Magnaye, who escaped with a 21-14, 10-21, 21-17 win over Janon Oba-ob.
In ladies Opens singles, the fancied bets played true to form with top seed Gelita Castilo of GSF dominating Diane Castro, 21-6, 21-3, to arrange a quarters showdown with Elaine Malelang, who subdued Sheira Suico, 21-9, 21-14, in the tournament sponsored by PLDT Smart Foundation, Robinsons Mall, Gatorade and official equipment sponsor Victor, exclusively distributed by PCOME Industrial Sales, Inc.
Second seed Bianca Carlos, also of GSF, downed Janelle de Vera, 21-16, 21-9, for a clash with Jennifer Cayetano, who repulsed Alizandra Candelaria, 11-21, 21-19, 22-20, while No. 3 Danica Bolos of Victor-Pcome-La Salle toppled Paula Filart, 21-19, 21-7, for a meeting with the most fancied player in the fold – Malvinne Alcala.
The 16-year-old Alcala, winner of the second leg of the circuit, pressed her bid with a 21-6, 21-16 romp over Kim Mayono, while Reyne Calimlim blasted Kristina Tan, 21-7, 21-7, for a quarters duel with No. 4 Grace Lim of ETC, who thwarted Pauline Tan, 21-17, 14-21, 21-13.
UP Diliman Abigail Garcia also pulled off an upset in the girls Under-19 singles, beating fourth seed Althea Osorio, 21-15, 21-11, for a quarters clash with No. 7 Janelle de Vera, who repulsed Danica Pelegrino, 21-13, 19-21, 21-13.
Also making it to the Last 8 are top seed and three-leg champion Carlos, No, 2 Elisha Ongcuangco, Danica San Ignacio, Grace Lim, Candelaria and Alcala.
In boys’ 15-under singles late Tuesday, three-leg champion Markie Alcala routed Nep Pineda, 21-10, 21-8, to set up a fourth round clash with No. 9 Wilfred Deato, who beat Henry Magana, 21-10, 21-18. Others who advanced were second seed Alvin Morada, Edrickson Malibiran, Paul Gonzales, Johnrick Macabenta, Ralph Santos, Patrick Gecosala, Joaquin Deato, Jan Sinfuego, Keeyann Gabuelo, Christian Bernardo Joseph Manlalangit, Alexis Geberjuan, Vincent Manuel and Joven Bagasbas.
Meanwhile, action heats up today with the quarterfinal round in all divisions at the Philsports Arena in Pasig City with the ladies Opens singles at 9 a.m., the men’s Open singles at 9:30 a.m. and the U-15 and U-19 singles at 10 a.m. and 11 a.m.
The event is backed by media partners 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)