Top juniors Airah Albo and Sarah Joy Barredo hacked out a pair of come-from-behind three-set thrillers to set up a showdown for the Open women’s singles crown in the Bingo Bonanza National Open Badminton Tournament at Glorietta 5 Atrium in Makati City on Saturday.
The fourth-ranked Albo ended the unranked Mariya Sevilla’s run of impressive victories with a 16-21, 21-14, 21-10 decision, gaining a crack at her first major championship against a fellow PBA-Smash Pilipinas standout seeking to claim the country’s top ranking.
Albo and Barredo, members of the Philippine team that won the 2015 Sudirman Cup world team Group IV event last May, dispute the crown in today’s finals starting at 2 p.m., also at Glorietta 5, with the mixed doubles to be followed by the women’s and men’s singles and women’s and men’s doubles, according to the organizing EventKing Corp.
Barredo, a former double gold medalist in the Philippine National Games, also upended Castilo in the finals of the FDG Cup last July after the latter humbled the former in the finals of the Bingo Bonanza National Open revival last year.
But for a while, Castilo appeared headed for a repeat of her last year’s feat, taking the opening set only to falter in the second in the face of Barredo’s strong fightback on a superb all-around game.
The duo traded smashes and drop shots in the decider before Barredo unleashed a strong finishing kick to snatch the 65-minute victory.
Defending champion Mark Alcala of Allied-NVBA and R-Jay Ormilla of PBA-Smash were disputing the first finals berth in the Open men’s singles at presstime along with top seed Kevin Cudiamat and Frell Gabuelo clashing for the other championship seat.
Also being disputed are the finals berths in the Open women’s and men’s doubles pitting Keshya Hanadia and Marissa Vita of Indonesia against Danica Bolos and Jennifer Cayetano, and Alyssa Leonardo and Thea Pomar versus Aires Montilla and Kristelle Salatan; Joper Escueta and Ronel Estanislao battling it out with Carlos Cayanan and Paul Pantig and Christian Bernardo and Alvin Morada squaring off with Peter Magnaye and Paul Vivas.
Three setters marked the penultimate playdate of the top-ranking tournament backed by official equipment Victor PCOME and official sports drink Gatorade with PBA-Smash Pilipinas standout Estanislao and Vita ousting last year’s Open mixed doubles champions Vivas and Eleanor Inlayo.
Estanislao and Vita, who bundled out top seed Paul Pantig and Thea Amor in the quarters, recovered from a close first-set setback and took the next two to complete a 19-21, 21-16, 21-2 victory and advance to the finals against the second seeded pair of Alvin Morada and Leonardo, also of PBA-Smash, hacked out a 21-16, 17-21, 21-12 victory over Magnaye and Jessie Francisco.