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Badminton

PBO: Albo stuns Oba-ob in men’s semis; De Guzman moves forward to women’s final


ANTIPOLO CITY — National team standouts Jelo Albo and Mika De Guzman took a step closer to their respective bids for the men’s and women’s singles titles at the 2024 Philippine Badminton Open following their semifinal wins on Monday at the First Pacific Leadership Academy here.

Albo, the 20-year-old hometown bet, fended off the challenge of top seed and Philippine Air Force’s RJ Oba-ob in 39 minutes of intense rallies, 21-12, 21-10, to move into the final of the men’s singles in this Philippine Super 500 tournament, supported by Smart, Mizuno, the Philippine Sports Commission, and the MVP Sports Foundation.

“Totally, wala naman po talaga akong sinet na goal sa sarili ko. Siguro, sa lahat naman, ang goal nila ay mag-champion. Pero para sa ‘kin lang ay mapakita ko ‘yung best ko at mag-perform ng maayos,” said the UAAP Season 85 Rookie of the Year from the University of the Philippines.

Albo, who lives just a few kilometers from the venue, knew of the capabilities of Oba-ob, a former national team member.

He also knew he had to take his opportunity to score when first presented the chance.

“Siguro ‘yung finocus ko lang this semifinal ay ‘yung game play ko na kailangan ko siyang atakihin. Kasi kung tatagal ‘yung game, ako ‘yung mahihirapan, kasi si kuya OB, sobrang lakas ng katawan niya; ‘yung endurance niya ando’n kahit sabihin na nating senior namin siya,” shared the incoming third-year student-athlete from the University of the Philippines.

“So, ‘yung mindset ko lang ay ‘kung paano ko papatayin ‘yung bola.”

Albo will shoot for the throne against the tournament’s biggest surprise so far, Clarence Villaflor of Cadiz-JBA/Apacs, who was unfazed in his clinical take on Ateneo de Manila University’s Arthur Salvado Jr., 21-13, 21-16, in the other semifinal clash.

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De Guzman, on her part, continued her impressive run toward defending her title in women’s singles in this competition sponsored by Jollibee, Chowking, and the FPLA, following a half-hour, 21-10, 21-13 decision over National University’s Karylle Rio.

2024-PBAD-Open-2024-Mikaela-De-Guzman-08165 PBO: Albo stuns Oba-ob in men's semis; De Guzman moves forward to women's final Badminton News  - philippine sports news

Despite the scoreline, the 2023 APACS Kazakhstan International Series champion praised her fellow UAAP standout Rio’s game, saying, “She did great po. I know she is one of the top players at NU, and at the same time, I’m also happy with my performance. Knowing na top players sila ng top schools, kailangan ko pong ilabas ‘yung 100 percent best ko.”

With another Lady Bulldog, Ysabel Amora, who won 21-15, 21-12 against Anielka Maeve Paz, standing in her way to the championship, De Guzman knew what she should do on Tuesday.

“Ibubuhos ko na po lahat kasi ito na ‘yung final game eh. So, kung ano pa po ‘yung natitira sa sarili ko, ibibigay ko na po talaga lahat-lahat,” said the three-time UAAP champion from Ateneo de Manila University.

In the doubles play of this tournament, also backed by Maynilad, MWell, and Cignal, Smash Pilipinas standouts Julius Villabrille and Nicole Albo kept their double title-retention bid in effect.

Both survived the challenges presented to them in the three semifinal matches they conquered.

2024-PBAD-Open-Julius-Villabrile-3 PBO: Albo stuns Oba-ob in men's semis; De Guzman moves forward to women's final Badminton News  - philippine sports news

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Villabrille, who will be in his third year with NU, teamed up with his 2023 APACS Kazakhstan Future Series title partner, Solomon Padiz Jr., in a 24-22, 21-11 victory over fellow Bulldogs Lanz Zafra and Nestojan Tapales.

Meanwhile, Albo, UAAP Season 80 MVP with De La Salle University, joined forces with Lea Inlayo, two-time UAAP champion with UP, in a rousing 21-14, 21-19 decision past the University of Santo Tomas’ Patricia De Leon and Marielle Alvarez.

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Villabrille and Padiz Jr. will face their national team colleagues, head coach Ariel Magnaye and Christian Bernardo, for the title following the latter’s 21-17, 21-15 escape from UP’s Kervin Llanes and Rey Angelo Pedron.

2024-PBAD-Open-Eleanor-Inlayo PBO: Albo stuns Oba-ob in men's semis; De Guzman moves forward to women's final Badminton News  - philippine sports news

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Albo and Inlayo, on the other hand, will face UP Fighting Maroons Patricia de Dios and Kimberly Lao, 21-18, 21-13 winners over the University of Santo Tomas’ Jennifer Saladaga and Rhafi Santos.

Reigning mixed doubles champions Villabrille and Albo, likewise took care of John Gregg Paz and Marilou Dacillo, 21-11, 21-13.

They will face Bernardo and Alyssa Leonardo, who battled through a 21-18, 17-21, 21-18 marathon past Padiz and Inlayo, for the title.

The tournament concludes on Tuesday with the championship matches starting at 10:00 AM at the Gameville Ball Park in Mandaluyong City with 1 million pesos in total pot money in the five events.

Grew to appreciate various sports from tennis to judo. True-maroon kiddo since the new millennium. Fanboy. Singer. Occasional sports writer.


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