by Dan Rupinta
Youth, power and athleticism. Three elements which undoubtedly powered Antonino Gadi to his first Open Men’s Singles Title in the 2008 Yonex-Sunrise Philippine National Open Badminton Championships held at the YPBC, Shaw Blvd, last November 30, 2008. The 19-yr old Gadi from the Golden Shuttle Foundation overwhelmed former Philippine team mainstay, Ian Gil Piencenaves of Butuan City Badminton Club/PLDT, in one of the most dominating performances in the tournament’s Open Men’s Singles history.
In the first set, Gadi led all the way and even raced to an 8-point advantage. Piencenaves tried to use his experience and was successful to trimming down the deficit to 3, bringing the score to 14-11. But it proved to be Piencenaves’ last stand as Gadi closed teh set 21-11, with a combination of power and amazing display of intricate net shots. Apart from the early lead of Piencenaves at 3-0 in the 2nd set, it was all Gadi, as once again, his power and precise smashes proved to be too much for Piencenaves to handle. The final scoreline: 21-11, 21-12. The win solidify Gadi’s No.1 ranking in Philippine Men’s Singles and he will be expected to banner the Philippine team’s campaign in the next Southeast Asian Games in Laos.
Earlier in the afternoon, Golden Shuttle Foundation’s title campaign started with a bang as Kennevic and Kennie Asuncion re-captured the Open Mixed Doubles title after their two-year absence in this annual tourney. The Asuncions defeated the very talented teenagers from Allied Badminton, Ronel Estanislao and Malvinne Anne Alcala, 24-22, 21-10. Kennie Asuncion later teamed up with Karyn Velez to capture the Ladies Doubles crown by defeating the pair of youngsters, 13-yr old Malvinne Anne Alcala and 14-yr old Gelita Castilo of Allied Badminton, 21-16, 21-15.
In the Men’s doubles open category, Ian Gil Piencenaves won his 4th title in 5 yrs in the Men’s Doubles category, this time pairing with Marlon Villarin. They defeated Arolas Amahit and Mark Natividad, 20-22, 21-18, 21-16.
In the tournament’s finale, Gelita Castilo of Allied Badminton completed her amazing run in the tournament as she defeated her good friend and doubles partner, Malvinne Anne Alcala, 20-22, 21-10, 21-19 in the Ladies’ Singles Open category. It was the 3rd meeting of these two talented players in this annual tournament, with Castilo winning their two previous title encounters in the 14U and 16U categories in 2007.
And in the Corporate Category, Philippine Star recaptured the title they won in 2005 by defeating Robinsons Land, 2-nil.
In a battle for team supremacy, Whackers Badminton Academy (WBA) of Laguna took the most number of titles in the Juniors event having won the 14UBS, 14UGD, 16UGD, 16UXD and 18UBS events. One of the biggest wins for WBA was in the 18U BS event wherein 207 14U Boys Singles champion Philip Joper Escueta defeated fellow WBA standout, Aries De Los Santos, 21-15, 21-12.
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