FEU star Gelita Castilo, Singapore youth champ Mark Alcala rule National Open badminton
Gelita Castilo earns the national crown and bags P100,000. 

GELITA Gelita Castilo came back strong from a second set meltdown and exploited second seed Sarah Barredo’s erratic game to hack out a 21-17, 14-21, 21-19 win and capture the women’s Open singles crown in the P1.5 million Bingo Bonanza National Open badminton tournament on Sunday at the Rizal Memorial Badminton Center.

Pre-tournament favorite Mark Alcala, winner of the Singapore Youth International last month, whipped fifth seed R-Jay Ormilla, 21-15, 21-11, to top the men’s Open singles without dropping a set.

Castilo, from Far Eastern University, nearly blew seven match points as she held on to turn back Barredo in the decider and complete a sweep of the top two seeds after toppling No. 1 Airah Albo, 21-15, 21-15, in the Last 16 stage.

“I knew it’s going to be tough but I pulled it off,” said Castilo who bagged P100,000 and gained ranking points after the grueling one-hour and 26-minute match.

Barredo wound up in second place for the second time this year after losing to Chinese star Wang Lily in the Smart Cup in August.

"I committed a lot of errors. This is a learning experience for me," said Barredo.

It was an impressive campaign by the 15-year-old Alcala, who came into the event in high spirits following his victory in Singapore where he bested some of the region’s top players in the Under-17 section.

Alcala, who beat No. 6 Kenneth Monterubio, 21-13, 21-15, in the semis, capped his campaign with a 38-minute romp over Ormilla, who bundled out second seed Kevin Cudiamat, 21-19, 21-11, in the quarterfinals.

Paul Vivas and Christine Inlayo beat Peter Magnaye and Jessie Francisco, 21-13, 21-19, in the mixed doubles finals and pocketed P120,000.

Vivas and Inlayo beat Ariel delos Santos and Aires Montilla, 21-16, 21-19, in the semifinals. Magnaye and Francisco defeated the top-seeded tandem of Ronel Estanislao and Joella de Vera, 21-8, 18-21, 21-10, in the quarterfinals.

Trailing, 3-9, at the start of the decider, Barredo rallied to force a tie at 10 before Castilo regained control again and pulled away, 20-13, in the tournament sponsored by Bingo Bonanza, sanctioned by the Philippine Badminton Association and organized by EventKing Corp.

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