Favored badminton players deliver

Janelle Pangilinan, left, prepares to serve, while Jen Savellano gets ready for the next play

Janelle Pangilinan, left, prepares to serve, while Jen Savellano gets ready for the next play during their semis match against Miles Guerrero and Malou Malasarte in the women’s open doubles event in the NMI Badminton National Championships 2021 earlier this month at the TSL Sports Complex. (ROSELYN B. MONROYO)

Seeded players in the NMI Badminton National Championships 2021 did not disappoint, as they ruled their respective competitions last weekend at the TSL Sports Complex.

Janelle Pangilinan, who was the No. 1 seed in the women’s open singles, topped the division and notched two more titles in the tournament organized by the Northern Marianas Badminton Association for the first time through the support of Badminton Oceania.

The 2019 Samoa Pacific Games participant clinched the singles crown after beating Hannah Choi in the finals, 21-16, 21-18, and she also won the women’s open doubles (with Jen Savellano) and mixed open doubles (with Nate Guerrero). In the mixed doubles finals, the No. 1 seed Pangilinan and Guerrero took only two games to down Joseph Torres and Choi, 21-12, 21-18. Earlier, Choi and Torres stunned No. 2 seed Jordan Pangilinan and Malou Malasarte, 21-15, 21-4, to reach the finals.

In the women’s doubles title match, the pair of Pangilinan and Savellano won the battle between the Top 2 seeded duos after two games. The No. 1 seed and eventual champions labored for a 21-19 triumph in the opener before notching a much easier 21-12 win in the second game. Choi and Serrano moved into the finals following a 21-6, 21-15 victory over Jen Cardino and Lucelle Lampera, while Savellano and Pangilinan defeated Miles Guerrero and Malasarte in the other semis tiff, 21-7, 21-11.

Meanwhile, after missing the title in the mixed doubles, the No. 1 seed Torres returned to the court and bagged the men’s open singles championship. Torres played in the finals against Ezekiel Macario and moved closer to victory after taking the first game, 21-16. However, Torres could not close out the finale early, as Macario bounced back in the second game with a tough 21-19 win to force a rubber. In the decider, Torres was ahead at 7-1 when Macario was forced to pull out due to an ankle injury.

The finals match was Torres and Macario’s second meeting in the competition, as they earlier crossed paths in the men’s doubles title game. Torres partnered with Jordan Pangilinan in beating Ezekiel and his older brother Daniel in the finale, 22-20, 21-15. Before losing to Torres and Pangilinan, the Macario siblings pulled off an 8-21, 21-13, 21-16 win over Nathan Guerrero and Hajin Oh to advance to the finals.

Pangilinan and Torres and the other top finishers in the NMI Badminton National Championships 2021, including winners in the U19 division will be recognized in a brief awards ceremony this Friday at the TSL Sports Complex.

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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