Bianca Carlos bucked both cramps and her opponent’s solid challenge to lead the winners of the 2019 SMART National Badminton Open Finals, Friday evening at the Muntinlupa Sports Complex.
Up by one, 17-16, Carlos suddenly cramped up when she went for a return in the deciding third set of the women’s singles final. “Hindi ko na lang binigyan ng pressure yung sarili ko,” she said.
“Anybody’s game na ‘yun eh. Naglaro na lang ako nung pinaka-best na kaya ko, and kahit nag-cramps talagang ginapang, pinilit. Sobrang nakaka-proud ‘yung moment.”
The former UAAP Most Valuable Player edged out top-seed Sarah Barredo in the first game at 21-18. The latter then forced a decider with a tight 21-19 win the following frame.
Fellow Southeast Asian Games-bound campaigners Thea Pomar and Ariel Magnaye went out with two titles for the day. The pair took the mixed doubles title and the gold in women’s doubles and men’s doubles, respectively.
The duo overcame their respective women’s and men’s doubles partners Alyssa Leonardo and Alvin Morada in the championship of the mixed event, in a tight two-setter at 21-18, 22-20.
Pomar and Leonardo then took down Patricia Barredo and Lea Inlayo in the women’s event with a dominant 21-12, 21-16 conquest. On the other hand, Magnaye and Morada carved contrasting wins in either set and won the plum at 24-22, 21-7.
Top-seed Ros Pedrosa joined his national team colleagues in the winner’s circle, stopping the run of SMASH Pilipinas teammate Lanz Zafra at 22-20, 21-11.
Seeing Zafra run roughshod of the competition prior to the final, the former National University standout just refocused his mindset.
“I just kept telling myself na, ‘Keep calm, Ros. Trust yourself’,” he shared.
Trust well placed, it seems.