Saipan, CNMI, MP96950
Badminton regulars turned hosts Happy Gabriel, Macoi Aguda, and Marconi Calindas brought the house down with their comic antics during the awards banquet for the Inaugural Northern Marianas Badminton Federation Tournament held last Saturday night at Club V of Saipan Grand Hotel.
The awarding of winners for the fledgling organization's first formal competition, which took place on Oct. 9-14 at the Gilbert C. Ada Gymnasium, took a backseat as the trio put on an impromptu comedy show spiced up by special numbers from songbird Ingrid Sanchez and impersonator extraordinaire Noel Wong.
The event, however, started on a somber note as club president Jonathan Perez requested a moment of silence in honor of the late Jojo Aglipay, one of the pioneers of NMBF who died only a few months after the organization was formed.
NMBF adviser Lito Mendoza then swore in Perez, vice president Edwin Montoya, assistant secretary Diane Dar Juan, treasurer Jinky De Belen, and public relation officer Mark Rabago in a simple induction ceremony.
Gabriel, Calindas, and Aguda-the latter whenever he could escape from his emceeing duties at a wedding ceremony next door-then started the comedic ball rolling by good-naturedly poking fun on almost everyone who came up the stage from Perez, who remained on stage to help with the raffle drawing, to the raffle winners, to the tournament victors.
At one point, Calindas referred to Mendoza as a member of the Hong Kong triad, while Gabriel commented on Perez's choice of shoes and belt.
The two also did a number on Montoya and Rabago, clarifying to the audience that they are not Richard and Raymond Gutierrez from the Nestle Twin commercial of years back.
Even the normally serious awards ceremony was raucous, as exemplified when the tournament's most winningest competitor, Janice Bungalos, received her award.
Bungalos, who is two months pregnant and won the mixed doubles (with Aguda), women's doubles (with Gigi Zapanta), and was runner-up in the women's singles, was “forced” to publicly thank her husband, Neil, for her now delicate disposition.
Gabriel and Calindas also playfully claimed Priyawathan Wijay and Ryan Achas' trophies for themselves, after the men's doubles champions failed to make an appearance during the awards banquet, and gamely posed for photos as if they were the true winners of the division.
Aside from Bungalos, Wijay, and Achas, other winners of the first-ever NMBF tourney were women's singles champion and women's doubles runner-up (with Merle Savellano) Dar Juan, mixed doubles champion (with Bungalos), men's singles runner-up, and men's doubles third place (with Calindas) Aguda, men's doubles runner-up (with Erick Pena), and mixed doubles third place (with Elma Labuson) Raj Jayalal, women's singles third place Cleofe Santos, women's doubles third place Cristy Villaflor and Shirley Kim, and mixed doubles runner-up Montoya and Villaflor.
The Inaugural NMBF Tournament was sponsored by Coca-Cola Beverage Co. Inc., Aqua Resort Club, Fiesta Resort & Spa, Pacific Amusement, Pacific Islands Club, YCO Corp.-Jollibee, Pacific Telecom, Inc. Micronesian Brokers Inc., Jhem's Restaurant, Shirley's Coffee Shop, and Danielle's Massage and Beauty Salon. (PR)