National University shuttlers took care of business to come out on top in the 2018 Smart National Open Badminton tournament last Saturday at the Ayala Mall in South Park, Alabang.
UAAP Season 81 women’s badminton Rookie of the Year Sarah Barredo, who carried the Bulldogs to a fourth-place finish this year, blew the opposition out of the water on her way to the title. She swept the floor on unraked Mia Manguilimotan in the semifinals, 21-8, 21-9, before taking out an upset-minded Mikaela Joy de Guzman — who beat third-seed Jochelle Alvarez in the semifinals — 21-13, 21-12.
“Every win is important and precious sa akin and for the national team,” said Barredo. “My UAAP experience is an opener for a new chapter in my student-athlete life. This one legitimized my ranking as the number one in the Philippines.”
In the men’s division, Season 79 men’s badminton Most Valuable Player and third-seeded Ros Pedrosa outlasted no. 2 seed and PBA Smash Pilipinas member Solomon Padiz in the finals, 21-13, 22-20.
Before facing Padiz, Pedrosa kept Rabie Oba-ob, 21-19, 22-20 at bay in the semis. Padiz, meanwhile, ended bested JM Bernardo, 21-18, 21-14, to end the UP Fighting Maroon’s impressive campaign.
Elsewhere, long-time tandem Ariel Magnaye and Alvin Morada dominated Joper Escueta and Paul John Pantig, 21-8, 21-9, in the men’s doubles division matchup which pitted the country’s top duos against each other.
Magnaye, however, couldn’t secure a second title as he and Thea Pomar fell at the hands of Morada and Alssa Leonardo, 23-21, 23-25, 21-17, in the mixed doubles’ tournament.
In the women’s doubles, Pomar was able to recover as she and national team star Leonardo overcame Kanna Baba and Mariya Sevilla, 21-17, 21-14, completing a run where they did not drop a single set.
This tournament was backed by SMART Communications, MVP Sports Foundation, BaliPure, SMASH Pilipinas, Victor PCome Industrial Sales, J.Co Donuts, Prima Pasta, and Forthright Events & Sports Management Inc.