November will be a busy month for the Philippine Badminton Association (PBA), as the federation will run two tournaments in a span of eight days.
The first tourney will be the MVP National Juniors Championships from November 10 to 14 at the Powersmash Badminton Center in Makati City. The tourney will feature shuttlers from the youth division ages nine to 17.
This tournament’s goal is to develop the grassroots program of the sport.
“Primarily, this is a program where we want to identify new talents. Kaya tayo may MVP National Juniors Championships,” said PBA secretary-general Christopher Quimpo in a press conference held at Choi Garden in San Juan City. “We want the kids to compete amongst the best in the country.”
For the seniors group, the PBA will be holding the 5th annual SMART National Open Badminton Tournament from November 14 to 17. The qualifying rounds will still be held at Powersmash, while the grand finale will be hosted by Ayala Malls, South Park on the 17th.
This tournament will help the PBA develop its pool of national team players and find potential new members.
“The SMART Open naman is to identify talent. We want to see the level of the current players and to see the potential players beyond the national team members,” added Quimpo.
“Yung programs na ito, maganda dahil nagfo-focus sa grassroots. These players will be our representatives and this will be a good test for them heading into the SEA Games. Yung kailangan natin ay magkaroon ng unforgettable tournaments,” opined head official Judith Brosula.
Headlining the stacked field for the men’s division are top-ranked players Lance Zafra and Solomon Padiz of Philippines Women’s University-JASMS for the singles division. The tandems of Ariel Magnaye-Alvin Morada and Joper Escueta-John Paul Pantig headline the men’s doubles tourney.
For the distaffs’ side, top singles player Sarah Joy Barredo leads the pack. Samantha Ramos and Geva de Vera of defending UAAP Women’s Badminton Champions Ateneo Lady Eagles, together with NU’s Thea Pomar, NCAA MVP Nicole Salas of CSB, and DLSU’s Isay Leonardo, will try to dethrone Barredo.
In the women’s doubles’ division, UAAP Co-MVPs De Vera and Chanelle Lunod will look to continue the run they are in.
“Right now, the total participants is 863 already. May humahabol pa at sana ma-accommodate ng organizers,” expressed Quimpo.
“This will be the main event of this year. Next year, we are focusing on international tournaments,” he furthered.
Backing the tournament organized by the Albee Benitez-led PBA are SMART, MVP Sports Foundation, Bali Pure, Victor Pcome Industrial Sales, LRWC, and J.Co Donuts. The two events are powered by Forthright Events & Sports Management, Inc.
“As we all know, MVP loves this sport. So SMART is going to keep on supporting these tournaments,” said SMART Sports’ Yvette Ruiz.
“Itong SMART National Open, we are supporting it for the past few years already. Yung Bali Pure is supporting a lot of sports, including badminton. And we are looking to support these tournaments for the years to come,” added Bali Pure’s Gil Cortez.