The finest Filipino badminton players will come to fore when the rich Bingo Bonanza National Open takes place on Dec. 11 to 14 at the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex with a total cash prize of P1.5 million up for grabs.
Negros Occidental Rep. Albee Benitez, the PBA secretary-general, told yesterday’s PSA Forum at Shakey’s Malate that the singles champions will get P100,000 each and the winning doubles teams P120,000.
“The best of the best will be here slugging it out in a very friendly environment,” Benitez told the weekly forum sponsored by Shakey’s, Accel and Pagcor.
Benitez said the PBA is now focusing on putting up bigger national tournaments and has temporarily shelved plans of staging the more expensive international events.
“When we host international tournaments, our players are normally eliminated after the first round and only the foreign players remain. It’s like we’re holding the tournament for them.
“Now, we want to focus on national tournaments. Let us first upgrade and develop our national players until they can really compete with the foreigners,” said Benitez.
Joining Benitez in the forum are Bingo Bonanza’s Al Alonte and members of the national team, Indonesian coach Paulus Firman and players Paul Jefferson Vivas, Peter Gabriel Magnaye, Philip Escueta and Ronel Estanislao.
“This is a major event. And Bingo Bonanza is here because we still believe that badminton is one of the sports that can bring glory to the Philippines,” said Alonte of the upcoming event sanctioned by the Philippine Badminton Association.
The country’s top gaming and amusement center has been in the forefront of badminton since early 2000s, reviving the once dormant sport and producing top-notch players. The last time Bingo Bonanza staged the Philippine Open was in 2009 that lured some of the world’s top players, including those from powerhouse China, England, Canada, Germany, Wales, Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore, thus putting the country in the league of international badminton.
Nelson Asuncion, the tournament director, said there are limited slots to the Bingo Bonanza National Open but assured that “all the top players will be there.”
Benitez said the Filipino players getting that far in these tough tournaments is proof that Philippine badminton remains in high gear.
“It’s a very good sign. It shows that we can compete and that the chances of the Philippines being able to compete against the best have greatly increased,” he said.
Firman, who became head coach of the Philippine team only last January, is happy with what he’s seeing.
“This is good. But I don’t want them to be satisfied. We are just starting to build their confidence,” said Firman, who also guided Vivas and Magnaye to the Phl’s first-ever double’s crown in the
Swiss International Challenge of Champions. Escueta and Estanislao, meanwhile, reach the quarterfinals of the Yonex Dutch Open.
Registration for the tournament, sponsored by Bingo Bonanza Corp., starts Nov. 8-28 at 5 p.m., according to the organizing EventKing Corp. Entry fee is pegged at P800. The posting of players is on Dec. 1 while the draw will be held Dec. 5. The schedule will be posted on Dec. 7 while the team managers, coaches and players meeting will be on Dec. 9.
For details and online listup, visit http://www.bingob.com/nationalopentournament or email to EKC at firstname.lastname@example.org.(PSA)