Castilo bags National Open crown

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Gelita Castilo

Gelita Castilo

Allied Victor’s Gelita Castilo came back strong from a second set meltdown and exploited second seed Sarah Barredo’s erratic game to hack out a 21-17, 14-21, 21-19 decision and capture the women’s Open singles crown in the P1.5 million Bingo Bonanza National Open badminton tournament on Sunday at the Rizal Memorial Badminton Center.

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Castilo nearly blew seven match points as she held on to turn back the top Smash Pilipinas bet in the decider and complete her sweep of the centerpiece event’s top two seeds after toppling No. 1 Airah Albo, 21-15, 21-15, in the Last 16 stage of the four-day championship sponsored by Bingo Bonanza and sanctioned by the Philippine Badminton Association (PBA).

“I knew it’s going to be tough but I pulled it off,” said Castilo who pocketed the top P100,000 purse awarded by PBA Secretary General Albee Benitez.

Castilo, a freshman from FEU, also gained precious ranking points from her grueling one-hour, 26-minute victory in the event organized by EventKing Corp., which also avenged her quarterfinal loss to Barredo in the Smart Cup last August.

“I committed a lot of errors. This is a learning experience for me,” said Barredo, who ended up with her second runner up finish in the year losing to Chinese star Wang Lily in the Smart Cup.

Mark Alcala also completed Allied Victor’s sweep of the singles crowns by holding off fifth seed R-Jay Ormilla, also of Smash Pilipinas, 21-15, 21-11, in the men’s Open singles finals.

It was an impressive campaign by the 15-year-old Alcala, who came into the event in high spirits following his victory in the Singapore Youth International where he bested the region’s top players in the Under-17 section.

Alcala, who beat No. 6 Kenneth Monterubio, 21-13, 21-15, in the semis, finished this week’s event without dropping a set, capping it with a 38-minute romp over Ormilla, who bundled out second seed Kevin Cudiamat, 21-19, 21-11, in the quarters.

Earlier, Paul Vivas and Christine Inlayo thwarted Peter Magnaye and Jessie Francisco’s tough stand in the second set and carved out a 21-13, 21-19 victory in a duel of Smash Pilipinas mainstays to annex the mixed doubles crown in the event Vivas and Inlayo, who dominated the Ariel delos Santos-Aires Montilla pair, 21-16, 21-19, in the semis, outplayed Magnaye and Francisco, who eased out the top-seeded tandem of Ronel Estanislao and Joella de Vera, 21-8, 18-21, 21-10, in the quarters, in the opening set then hung tough in the next to complete the straight-set victory worth P120,000.

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