Over 576 of the top young badminton players in the country converged at the Powersmash Badminton Center in Makati City last November 10 for the 2018 MVP National Juniors Championships. And on the final day of competition on Wednesday, the top-seeded players look to secure the championship.
Headlining the cast for the grand finale of the annual youth tourney is top under-17 player Jewel Albo. Albo cruised through his first five matches, not dropping a single set to advance to the finale.
Standing in his way is Lyrden Laborte, an unranked player who is trying to close out his Cinderella run with gold.
Laborte’s run to the championship game was nothing short of spectacular. After dispatching Ericson Tabion in the opening round, Laborte scored a stunning upset of second-seeded Justine Valenzuela, 21-17, 21-14. He would then dominate his next two assignments to set up a showdown with Albo.
Albo will also partner up with Anthea Gonzalez in the mixed doubles finals, going up against second-ranked girls’ singles player Viana Antonio and Zed Monterubio. To close out the day, he and Guillian Rodriguez face Johnyl Mialda and Nestojan Tapales in the closer of the U17 boys’ doubles tourney.
As expected, Gonzalez, who is the top-seed in the girls’ division, breezed through the under-17 division en route to the final. She will face under-15 standout Karyll Rio, who will take on Patricia de Leon in the U15 finale, for the U17 championship.
Just like Albo, Gonzalez will be performing triple-duty in the event, as she will partner up with Dana Navarro in the girls’ double under-17 final, going up against Christine Dorega and Clara Ignacio.
Overall, a total of 20 champions will be crowned in this tournament backed by SMART Communications, MVP Sports Foundation, SMASH Pilipinas, Victor PCome Industrial Sales, Prima Pasta, Bali Pure, and Forthright Events & Sports Management Inc.