SEA Games-bound shuttlers hone up in National Open
MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine national badminton team will use next week’s 2016 National Open Badminton Tournament as part of their build-up for the 2017 Southeast Asian Games that will be held in Malaysia.
The tournament will showcase some of the country’s top players and rising stars, but national team head coach Paulus Firman expects members of the national team to dominate the P1.5-million championship, set for October 17-23 at the CW Home Depot Center and SM Megamall.
Firman said the tournament will go a long way towards preparing the national team for next year’s SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur, where he hopes the Filipinos will finally contend for a medal against some of the world’s top players.
“I think we have a very good chance of at least competing for a bronze in the men’s doubles,” he revealed. “But everything depends on the draw.”
According to tournament director Nelson Asuncion, ranking points will also be at stake in the week-long event, which is the country’s premier championship that will feature members of PBA Smash Pilipinas, the national pool, as well as a slew of other talented players from the provinces.
Top finishers in various divisions of the event may also be considered for inclusion in the national team pool.
The qualifiers and the quarterfinals will be held at the CW Home Depot before the tournament moves to SM Megamall for the semis and the finals on October 22 and 23.
Sarah Joy Barredo is targeting a repeat in the women’s Open singles, while a wide-open race looms in the men’s side as last year’s champion, Mark Alcala, is in the United States.
National team players Kevin Cudiamat, Frell Gabuelo, Ros Pedrosa, Solomon Padiz Jr. and Emilio Mangubat Jr. and Team Prima’s R-Jay Ormilla and Orlan Ticala are tipped to contend for the men’s Open singles title.
Out to foil Barredo are fellow PBA Smash Pilipinas mainstays Mariya Sevilla and Nicole Albo, Charmane Salvador of Makisig Badminton Academy, Bianca Carlos of Ateneo and former Singapore Junior champion Malvinne Alcala of University of the Philippines.
The top collegiate and club players from Metro Manila and the different provinces will also join the hunt for the winners’ purse of P100,000 for the men’s and women’s singles champions and P120,000 for the men’s doubles, women’s doubles and mixed doubles of the event sanctioned by the Philippine Badminton Association.
The schedule of the matches will be posted on Friday, while the coaches, team managers, and players’ meeting will be held on October 16 at the LWRC 26F West Tower, Philippine Stock Exchange Center in Ortigas.
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