The recently-concluded SMART National Badminton Open last week was intended to be a test run for the upcoming 2019 Southeast Asian Games badminton tournament.
It turned out to be more than that.
SEA Games-bound national athletes Bianca Carlos, Ros Pedrosa, and Ariel Magnaye shared the same views following the experiences they gained in the Open and have agreed it boosted their confidence ahead of the biennial meet.
“Para sa ‘kin po, nag-gain po ako ng confidence para i-represent ‘yung country for the SEA Games,” said former UAAP Most Valauble Player Pedrosa, who defeated Lanz Zafra in the Men’s Single Finals, 22-20, 21-11. “Kasi marami rin po akong natutunan within this court po.”
In one way, Pedrosa is right since the Muntinlupa Sports Complex will also be the venue for the Games.
“Unang-una ,’yung pressure at ‘yung environment, kabisado na namin. Hindi man totally, pero alam na namin ‘yung takbo ng hangin. Kanina nga nung game namin ni Lanz [Zafra], sabi namin [buksan] ‘yung aircon para masanay na kami,” he said.
Women’s singles champion Carlos agreed, adding that they’ll bank on that experience come Games time saying, “Advantage talaga siya sa ‘ming mga lalaro sa SEA Games. Home court ng Philippines ‘to. And kasi na-feel na namin sa tournament na ‘to ‘yung court talaga mismo. So, okay talaga ‘yung ginawa nila.”
In addition, the Open helped the former Ateneo Lady Eagle assess where she should improve in order to perform better at the Games.
“Dito ko talaga na-gauge ko kung nasaan na talaga ‘yung level ko. Kung worth it ba talaga na nandoon ako sa SEA Games team? So, ayun, ‘yung result nakita ko naman na, pwede naman na, ready na for the [Games].”
For Magnaye’s part, the Open became an avenue for the sport to grow.
“Every two years namang ginagawa ‘tong SMART ‘eh, so nasasanay na rin, iba’t ibang venue nga lang. Pero ‘yung experience rito masaya, kahit sino pwedeng sumali. Para na ring umusbong ang badminton,” the product of National University said.
Magnaye, a two-event winner in the Open in both the men’s doubles and mixed doubles, firmly believes there is a chance of duplicating, if not surpassing, their performance at the Singapore 2015 Games.
“Sa mga nakita ko before, kaya naman, kaya naman nating mag-medal,” the former UAAP standout continued.
With the performance, the Nationals showed in the Open, and the advantage they hopefully gained, the Philippine badminton contingent is more than ready to take on the region’s best come SEA Games.