Borja, Quintos stand out in U19

Taka Borja, left, and Sophia Quintos, play in separate matches in the U19 division.

Taka Borja, left, and Sophia Quintos, play in separate matches in the U19 division of the NMI Badminton National Championships 2021 last weekend at the TSL Sports Complex. (ROSELYN B. MONROYO)

Taka Borja and Sophia Quintos excelled in the U19 division of the NMI Badminton National Championships 2021 that concluded over the weekend at the TSL Sports Complex.

Borja brought home three championships, while Quintos earned a pair, showcasing their much-improved skills since joining the junior developmental pool this year.

In the men’s U19 singles play, Borja did not drop a single game en route to ruling the eight-player field. The No. 1 seed defeated doubles teammate Daniel Pablo in the opening round match last Friday, 21-19, 21-15, and then swept Vince Satur in the next game, 21-14, 21-15, to reach the finals. Satur moved to the semis following a 21-17, 21-13 triumph over Joe Antonio before missing the finals berth at the top of the draw when he bowed to Borja, who capped his domination in the division with a 21-14, 21-12 victory against Paulo Quidato in the title game.

The No. 2 seed Quidato made it to the finals following a 21-14, 21-12 win over Ian Lubao, who reached the semis after eliminating Marlon Bautista, 21-12, 21-13. Quidato before beating Lubao downed Kyle Salcedo, 21-11, 21-7.

Quidato and Borja met anew in the finals—this time in the men’s doubles with the latter teaming up with Pablo and the former joining forces with Ian Lubao. Borja and Pablo pulled off a 21-17, 19-21, 21-18 win over Antonio and Brian Lubao in the semis before sweeping Ian Lubao and Quidato in the finals, 21-14, 21-15. Ian Lubao and Quidato marched into the finals following a 21-12, 21-14 victory against Bautista and Satur, who advanced to the semis after a 21-12, 11-21, 21-11 triumph versus the duo of Mark Chavez and Salcedo.

For his third finals appearance, Borja partnered with Khristelle Itaas and they defeated Quidato and Kiesha De Guzman in the title match, 21-12, 21-12. The eventual champions booked a finals berth after topping Vince Satur and Gian Punzalan, 21-19, 22-20. Satur and Punzalan, on the other hand, beat Ian Lubao and Angel Joyce Reyes, 22-20, 21-6, to take the semis berth at the top half of the draw.

At the bottom half of the draw, Brian Lubao and Quintos outclassed Pablo and Julie Anne Chavez, 21-16, 21-11, to earn the right to face Quidato and De Guzman in the semis. Quidato and De Guzman then needed three games to oust Lubao and Quintos, 21-19, 21-23. 21-15, and set up a finals duel against Borja and Itaas.

After falling short in her bid for the mixed doubles title, Quintos went on to clinch the women’s doubles U19 crown after she and Itaas eased past Chavez and De Guzman, 21-8, 21-9. Earlier in the semis, Quintos and Itaas had a walkover win against the injured Kaithly Chavez and teammate Mikayla Cunanan, while Julie Anne Chavez and De Guzman defeated Punzalan and Reyes in the other Final Four pairing, 21-10, 21-19.

Meanwhile, Quintos ended up with her second division title after reigning supreme in the women’s U19 singles. Quintos won over De Guzman in the semis, 21-15, 21-8, and then outclassed Punzalan in the finals, 21-14, 21-18. Punzalan advanced to the finals following a 21-14, 21-18 triumph over Julie Ann Chavez, who marched into the semis after slipping past Reyes, 21-11, 21-23, 21-11.

Roselyn Monroyo | Reporter
Roselyn Monroyo is the sports reporter of Saipan Tribune. She has been covering sports competitions for more than two decades. She is a basketball fan and learned to write baseball and football stories when she came to Saipan in 2005.
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