The finest Filipino badminton players will come to fore when the rich Bingo Bonanza National Open takes place on December 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 Philippine Sports Writers Association Forum on Tuesday 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.
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.”
Registration for the tournament, sponsored by Bingo Bonanza Corp., starts November 8-28 at 5 p.m., according to the organizing EventKing Corp. Entry fee is pegged at P800.
For details and online listup, visit www.bingob.com/nationalopentournament or email to EKC at firstname.lastname@example.org.