MANILA, Philippines -- November will be a busy month for the Philippine Badminton Association (PBA), as the federation will hold two tournaments in an eight-day span.
The first tournament is the MVP National Juniors Championships, set for November 10-14 at the Powersmash Badminton Center in Makati. This event will feature shuttlers from the youth division, ages 9 to 17.
The 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. "We want the kids to compete amongst the best in the country."
For the seniors players, the PBA will hold 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 November 17.
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," said Quimpo.
"Yung programs na ito, maganda dahil nag-fofocus 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," said 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 women's division, top singles player Sarah Joy Barredo leads the pack. Samantha Ramos and Geva de Vera of defending UAAP women's badminton champion Ateneo de Manila University, together with National University's Thea Pomar, NCAA MVP Nicole Salas of De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde, and De La Salle University'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-accomodate ng organizers," expressed Quimpo.
"This will be the main event of this year. Next year, we are focusing on international tournaments," he added.
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