The FDG Cup Open and Invitational Badminton Championships get going on Friday with a spirited battle for quarterfinal berths in three divisions expected among the country’s leading players in the day-long competition at Powersmash in Pasong Tamo, Makati City.
Four matches in the 53-team Open men’s doubles kick off hostilities at 9 a.m., with national team mainstays Joper Escueta and Ariel Magnaye taking on the Jerome Pechera-Keith Reyes pair and Regie de Polonia and Wilmer Frias clashing with the Jon Masongsong-Charlo Tengco tandem.
Malvinne Ann Alcala, fresh from her victory in the Swiss Juniors Open last week, links up with Indonesia Lily Wang as they tangle with Jubie Vallarta and Indon Mona Santoso at 10:40 a.m. in one of the featured matches in the 29-team Open women’s doubles in the ninth staging of the event held in honor of Robinsons Land Corp. president Frederick D. Go.
Highlighting the two-day tournament is a pair of exhibition games on Saturday with Go teaming up with world No. 5 men’s singles player Simon Santoso of Indonesia against the world No. 4 mixed doubles tandem of Tontowi Ahmed and Liliyana Natsir at 3 p.m.
Santoso, third in this year’s Indonesian Open Grand Prix Gold, will later team up with local ace Kennevic Asuncion against the Ahmed-Natsir tandem, the All England Badminton Open mixed doubles title-holders and winners of this year’s Indonesian Open Grand Prix.
Focus will also be on the 12 noon match between the top-seeded pair of Toby Gadi and Gelita Castilo against Alcala and Malaysian Yogendran Krisnan, the main match in the 32-team Open mixed doubles of the event backed by HCG 80, Davies Paints, Supreme Steel Pipe Corp. and Sycwin Wires and Cables.
Eliminations all the way to the quarterfinals for the Open event will all be played today while the semifinals and the finals together with the Invitationals (Classes A, B, C, D, E, F) are set tomorrow with fabulous raffle prizes up for grabs during awards rites.
Bianca Carlos, winner of the Open and Under-19 crowns in the Cebu leg of the PBaRS (Philippine Badminton Ranking System) last May, and teammate Komang Wijaya of Indonesia battle Alvin Morada and Marina Caculitan while the second-seeded tandem of Roden Rivera and Pauline Tan collides with Ian Mendez and Amor Montilla in the other featured matches in the Open mixed doubles.
The men’s doubles champions will receive P200,000, P40,000 more than last year’s prize, while the mixed doubles winners will get P120,000 and the ladies doubles champions will receive P90,000, making it the richest ever in any Open doubles competitions.
Actress Iza Calzado will also grace the event as host while Giselle Sanchez and Brod Pete will provide entertainment during awards rites of the event also held to promote fitness and health and at the same time foster camaraderie among the management and staff of RLC and its business partners, including architects, consultants, project managers, contractors and suppliers and friends.