Nine-year-old A.J. Ortega and 11-year-old Nicole Masalarte marched into the finals after booking three victories over the weekend at the TSL Sports Complex. Malasarte and Ortega kicked off their bid in the seven-team field with a 21-16, 21-19 victory over Patrick Fernandez and Jhoanna Olivos last Saturday. Then after a few hours, the youthful pair got their second win, sweeping Ariel Jinang and Judy Mendieta, 21-17, 21-10, to advance to the winner’s bracket semifinals. In the semis set last Sunday, Malasarte and Ortega were paired against Deether Edralin and Dianne Francisco and cruised to victory via forfeiture.
With its perfect 3-0 record, Ortega and Malasarte did not only make it to the finals first, but also got a twice-to-beat advantage in the title game. Edralin and Francisco, who earlier defeated Kevin Park and Patricia Abantao, 21-14, 21-17, and Rowena Sison and Young Sang, 15-21, 21-13, 21-15, dropped to the loser’s bracket and will play in a knockout game this Saturday to get a second crack at Malasarte and Ortega.
Edralin and Francisco’s foes will be the winner in another make-or-break game between the tandem of Panapa Peteru and Lani Santos and Sang and Sison. Peteru and Santos first fell to Sang and Sison, 11-21, 18-21, but kept their hopes alive after notching back-to-back wins against Park and Abantao, 21-18, 21-19, and Mendieta and Jinang, 21-20, 19-21, 21-15. Sison and Sang also remained in contention after eliminating Fernandez and Olivos, 21-14, 21-18.
In other results, siblings Jordan and Janelle Pangilinan barged into the semifinals of the mixed doubles B after surviving Cris Hilario and Windy Fernandez, 20-21, 21-17, 21-20. The Pangilinans will be up against Roger Vales and Shirley Kim, who swept J.P. Nopia and Havika Farro, 21-18, 21-9.
In the mixed doubles C, the winner’s bracket semis will pit the pair of Glenn Bluutjens and Alma Ortega versus the duo of Ferdie Arago and Lano Bartolome. Ortega and Bluutjens drew a bye in the first round and advanced to the semis after a 21-15, 21-15 win over Jexler Caranto and Janelle Pangilinan, who came from a 21-20, 14-21, 21-14 triumph over Ezekiel Macario and Jen Savellano.
Arago and Bartolome played in the first round and won against Elna Curate and Andreau Galvez, 21-12, 19-21, 21-18 before defeating Sam Jones and Malou Malasarte, 21-11, 21-12, to move one win away from earning a finals berth.
The mixed doubles over 40 division is also in the semifinals with Joel Ortega and Marlene Peraja nailing the first berth after topping Piao and Merlie Tolentino, 21-8, 21-9, and Edwin Montoya and Ana Alvarez, 21-16, 21-16. Victor Regis and Ana Omori took the other semis ticket, as they also bagged two wins over the weekend after outclassing Jojo and Merlie Savellano, 12-21, 21-16, 21-10 , and Vales and So Young, 12-21, 21-16, 21-8.
Despite dropping their second game, Vales and Young and Montoya and Alvarez are still in the race after eliminating Peteru and Cristy Villaflor, 21-11, 21-16, and Ariel Mariano and Curate, 19-21, 21-15, 21-12, respectively.
Meanwhile, four more teams gained semis entries in the men’s doubles. In the C division, Eydie Uy and Ronnie edged Fernandez and Lance Bartolome, 21-18, 21-18 to march into the semis against Han Cheol and Young Sang, who prevailed over Kevin Park and Jeremy Montenejo, 21-7, 21-13. In the A division, Bluutjens and Jones downed Arago and Macoi Aguda, 21-17, 21-14, to earn a semis duel against Caranto and Galvez, who automatically advanced after getting a bye in the first round.