• B Bonanza Nat’l Open badminton unwraps

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    The chase for badminton supremacy and ranking points begins today with 39 matches, including the centerpiece Open singles, on tap in the P1.5 Bingo Bonanza National Open Badminton Tournament at the Rizal Memorial Badminton Hall.

    Timothy Alvar slugs it out with Arsen Alvarez at 9 a.m. while Renz Lumaday and Christian Sioson clash at 9:20 a.m. in the first two men’s singles matches firing off the week-long championship featuring the country’s leading shuttlers and rising stars and a slew of Indonesian players.

    Yappies Badminton Group’s JC Clarito and Almira Ramos tangle with PBA-Smash mainstay Ronel Estanislao and Indonesian Marissa Vita; Joper Escueta, also of PBA-Smash, teams up with another Indonesian Keshya Hanadia as they face Vince Lagnada and Mae Pomar of FEU/Equiparco-BBC; Sidney de Jesus and Fatima Cruz of Meralco take on Carlos Cayanan and Alyssa Geveruan of PBA-Smash; and Mike Minuluan and Minarti Timur, also of Indonesia, battle Gines Alvare and Marie Lucas in four Open mixed double matches tipped to go down-to-the-wire.

    Edison Cupcupin of Philstar/Babolat and Heildenberg Dimarucot of Team Ai-Ai Badminton Club collide with Christian Bernardo and Alvin Morado in the first of nine mixed doubles matched lined up in a busy opener of the event sponsored by Bingo Bonanza and backed by Gatorade, Glorietta, Smash Pilipinas and the Philippine Olympic Committee.

    Also on tap are matches in women’s singles pitting Mariya Sevilla vs Klowie Garcia at 1 p.m. followed by the Jessica Muljati-Irish Molina clash, the Mae Pomar-Shane Salvador duel, the Jennifer Cayetano-Maridel Rivera face-off, the Monica Rivera-Dei Duquilla clash, the Marie Lucas-Felice Lorenzana duel, and the Hanah Tudtud-Susmita Ramos clash.

    Action heats up tomorrow (Wednesday) with another day-long battle of smashes and drop shots as the survivors fight for berths in the quarterfinals to be held at Glorietta 5 Atrium. The semis and the finals in the men’s and women’s singles, men’s and women’s doubles and mixed doubles will also be played at Glorietta, according to the organizing EventKing Corp.

    The National Open, sanctioned by the Philippine Badminton Association headed by Vice President Jejomar Binay and sec-gen Rep. Albee Benitez, marks the second straight year of the event’s revival with the country’s premier gaming and amusement center backed as the sport’s chief backer. Bingo Bonanza used to staged big-time badminton tournaments, including the Philippine Open in 2009 that drew some of the world’s premier players.

    Gelita Castilo and Paul Vivas set out for a repeat of their “double” feats last year with the former seeking defense of her singles crown and the latter out to duplicate his victories in the doubles and mixed doubles.

    Castilo is actually giving up her women’s doubles plum she won with Malvinne Alcala but the UP ace will see action in the mixed doubles in tandem with fancied Marky Alcala, also the reigning singles champion, making them a worthy rival to defending champion Vivas and Christine Inlayo and the rest of the 32 -team cast.

    Vivas, one of the mainstays of PBA-Smash Pilipinas, is teaming up again with UAAP MVP Peter Magnaye, hopeful of scoring a repeat in the men’s doubles over a field headed by last year’s runners-up Joper Escueta and Ronel Estanislao, No. 3 Carlos Cayanan and Paul Pantig and fourth ranked Gerald Gonzales and Joshua Monterubio, all members of PBA-Smash.

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