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PH Badminton Open: Mark Velasco, Lanz Zafra KO higher seeds, set up MS final clash

Dragonsmash Badminton Center was buzzing with excitement as the penultimate day of the 2023 Philippine Badminton Open took place on Saturday. Spectators eagerly awaited the matches, wondering who would come out on top and make it to the finals on Sunday.

The day did not disappoint, with some stunning upsets that left the crowd gasping in amazement.

The biggest shock of the day came in the form of Mark Anthony Velasco, who defeated PH no. 1 player Ros Pedrosa 22-20, 21-13 to advance to the men’s singles final.

On the other bracket, Lanz Zafra scored a nail-biting 21-19, 21-23, 23-21 upset over Lance Vargas.

The two winners will now face off in the men’s singles final, promising an exhilarating match that fans will not want to miss.

The women’s singles play was relatively spared from stunners as Mika De Guzman and Christal Rei Fuentespina arranged their final showdown.

De Guzman, the most recent UAAP women’s MVP from Ateneo, made quick work of Nikki Paz, winning 21-9, 21-5 in just 23 minutes. Fuentespina, on her part, came from behind against Patricia De Leon, winning 18-21, 21-15, 22-20.

In the doubles events, Lea Inlayo, Nicole Albo, Julius Villabrille, and Solomon Padiz Jr. were on track for possible title sweeps as they saw themselves in the finals of all three doubles events.

In the women’s doubles, Inlayo and Albo stopped upstarts Andrea Hernandez and Susmita Ramos, winning 21-11, 21-15 to move into the finals against Alyssa Leonardo and Thea Pomar, the top-seeded pair who took down National University’s Gwnneth Desacola and Jeya Pinlac, 21-16, 21-19, in their own semifinal match.

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In the mixed doubles, Inlayo joined forces with the reigning UAAP men’s MVP Padiz Jr. in an upset of top-seeds Alvin Morada and Leonardo, winning 21-17, 21-12. On the other side of the draw, Albo and Villabrille defeated Christian Bernardo and Pomar 21-14, 16-21, 21-18.

Villabrille and Padiz, both UAAP champions with NU, also booked their places in the men’s doubles final, winning 21-14, 21-15, against UP-Allied Badminton’s Kervin Llanes and Paul Gonzales.

Morada and Bernardo prevented an upset in the men’s doubles bracket, winning 21-17, 23-21 against Jerick Obaob and Johan Rivas.

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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