Kyle Salcedo won the championship of the boys singles of the TakeCare Badminton Open 2021 after outlasting Marlon Bautista last weekend at the Gilbert C. Ada Gymnasium.
The Marianas High School 10th grader edged Bautista in three hard-fought sets, 21-13, 18-21, 11-4, to win the first ever junior title in the organizing Northern Marianas Badminton Association’s history.
“My strategy was to try to make my opponent tired or if that doesn’t work then I’ll watch his movements and try to predict where he’ss gonna hit the shuttle,” Salcedo said when asked how he won the finals.
He said taking home the championship of the boys singles division was a really cool experience.
“I felt great winning the champion and I had fun,” he said.
The 15-year-old has been playing badminton for fun since he was little with his mother, Jeanne, but finally improved after getting formal training at the TSL Sports Complex with the help of coaches from the NMBA last summer.
“It was introduced to me when I was a kid and I really liked it and I want to learn,” he said.
Salcedo earlier booked the first finals seat after vanquishing Bautista, 11-5, 11-5. Bautista rebounded nicely after the semifinal loss after defeating Gregory Ngotel in the loser’s bracket finals, 11-10, 11-10. He, however, fell short against Salceda in the championship.
Other participants in the boys singles division are Peter White, Kyle Manuel, Prince Calvo, and Andre Zapata.
In the girls singles, Angieleysha Punzalan and Charmaine Bautista will duke it out in the finals after disposing of separate opponents over the weekend.
Punzalan made it into the championship round following an 11-4, 11-6 victory over Kiesha De Guzman. Her finals opponent, Bautista, advanced after securing a 11-10, 11-7 win over De Guzman in the loser’s bracket.
In the boys doubles, Gregory Ngotel and Peter White are also a win away from taking home the first place trophy following their 11-6, 11-10 triumph over Marlon Bautista and Kyle Manuel. They’re just awaiting the result of the semifinals duel between Prince Calvo and Andre Zapata and Bautista and Manuel.
In the girls doubles, Mikyla Cunanan and Keisha De Guzman are also a game shy of winning it all after defeating Angel Reyes and Angieleysha Punzalan in the semifinals, 11-9, 7-11, 11-10. The other semifinal showdown in the division will pit Kaya Braxton and Charmaine Bautista against Reyes and Punzalan.
In the junior mixed doubles, Gregory Ngotel and Kaya Braxton advanced to the quarterfinals after subduing Manuel and Punzalan, 11-2, 11-6. Their opponent in the next round will be Marlon Bautista and De Guzman after the duo subdued Peter White and Mikyla Cunanan, 11-9, 11-6.
In the loser’s bracket, Prince Calvo and Angel Reyes will play opposite White and Cunanan in the quarterfinals with the winner taking on the loser of the Ngotel-Braxton and Bautista-De Guzman matchup.
Results of the men’s singles, men’s doubles, women’s singles, women’s doubles, and mixed doubles across all divisions (A, B, C) will be published in the next issues of Saipan Tribune.