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6 pairs unbeaten in IT&E badminton tilt

By Roselyn Monroyo
Saipan Tribune Reporter

Macoi Aguda, right, serves while teammate Saul Gargallo looks on during their game against Jerry Hibi and Eric Pena in the men's A division of the 2009 IT&E Badminton Doubles Tournament Sunday at the Gilbert C. Ada Gymnasium. (Roselyn B. Monroyo) The pair of Macoi Aguda and Saul Gargallo is among the six undefeated teams in the men's A division after two days of action in the 2009 IT&E Badminton Doubles Tournament held over the weekend at the Gilbert C. Ada Gymnasium.

Aguda and Gargalo won their first two matches to take the lead in the men's A division. They debuted with a 21-7, 21-18 victory over Edwin Montoya and Gary Bandoja Saturday and improved to a 2-0 record after a 21-14, 19-21, 21-12 triumph over Jerry Hibi and Eric Pena Sunday.

In second place with a 2-1 record is the duo of Hapi Gabriel and Robert Reyes, who lost their opening game to Hibi and Pena, 19-21, 24-22, 19-21. On Day 2, Gabriel and Reyes swept their games, beating the tandem of Montoya and Bandoja, 21-14, 21-17, and the pair of Lito Mendoza and Joseph Santos, 21-17, 21-19.

Mendoza and Santos hold a 1-1 record after downing Montoya and Bandoja on Day 1 of the weekend tournament, 21-19, 21-18. The duo of Bandoja and Montoya is winless in three games.

In the men's B division, two pairs are undefeated with Mario Diola and Paul Navarro winning two games on Day 1 and Roger Vales and Efren Cacdac also notching a 2-0 slate.

Diola and Navarro prevailed over Alfred Acosta and Edwin Maratas, 21-11, 21-13, 21-18, and Daniel Macario and Jorge Olanda, 19-21, 21-16, 21-19. The tandem of Vales and Cacdac won over Emil De Belen and Rommel Villavisa, 21-19, 22-20, on Day 1, and against Andrew Galvez and Victor Reyes, 21-19, 12-31, 21-14, on Day 2.

In the women's B vision, the pair of Marylyn Montano and Cheng Saturno is unbeaten in two games after trouncing Ingrid Sanchez/Cristy Villaflor, 21-16, 21-15, and Lea Estinopo and Rose Lazaro, 21-10, 21-13.

Sanchez and Villaflor are in second place with a 2-1 slate after winning their first game over Estinopo and Lazaro, 21-12, 21-5, and third match against Shirley Kim and Angelie Ito, 21-14, 21-16.

Rodwealth Espana and James Digno are leading in the men's C division with a perfect 2-0 record following their victories over Puy Macario and Chris Hilario, 21-17, 21-17, and Ezekiel Macario and Roding Domingo, 21-17, 21-10. Puy and Hilario recovered from their opening game loss after winning two games Sunday against Frank Villagomez and Ric Brien, 21-18, 7-21, 21-15, and Ezekiel and Domingo, 21-11, 21-11.

Leading in the women's C division is the pair of Elna Curate and Merlie Tolentino, who whipped Malou Guzman and Malou Mendoza Saturday, 14-21, 21-16, 21-12, and Dorie Pena and Hazel Dela Santa Sunday, 21-17, 21-15.

In the other game in the women's C division, Annette Quiambao and Irene Santiago defeated Mendoza and Guzman, 21-17, 22-20.

Action in the IT&E tournament will continue this weekend. The men's A and men's and women's C divisions will have a double round-robin format, while the men's and women's B will be a single round robin affair. The Top 4 teams in each division will move to the crossover semifinals.

Northern Marianas host doubles tournament

Dubbed as the 2009 IT&E Badminton Doubles Tournament, the event will feature competitions in five divisions, namely the men's A, men's and women's B, and men's and women's C.

Slots on the tournament are limited so NMBF is encouraging interested participants to register before the event kicks off on March 28.

The men' A division is open only to five pairs, while the B division will have only eight teams each for the men's and women's. The women's C category will accept only four squads apiece for the women's and men's.

The men's A and men's and women's C divisions will have a double round-robin format, while the men's and women's B will be a single round robin affair. The Top 4 teams in each division will advance to the crossover semifinals with the No. 1 squad facing the No. 4 team for the first finals ticket. The No. 2 and 3 squads will duel for the other finals seat.

NMBF through president Shirley Kim expressed its appreciation for IT&E's support to the tournament.

“We are thankful to our avid sponsors, especially IT&E, for their generosity in helping us run this event. “We are looking forward to another successful and fun tournament through the cooperation of NMBF members and supporters,” Kim said.

Kim, along with NMBF vice president Edwin Montoya, treasurer Malou Mendoza, and board member Lito Mendoza, received a $800 check from IT&E yesterday in a brief donation ceremony at the telecommunication company's office in Susupe.

The donation, according to Rose Soledad, IT&E's regional controller for finance and accounting, shows the company's commitment in supporting various activities in the CNMI.

“Despite the crisis we are experiencing right now, IT&E is committed to help various organizations in the CNMI, such as the NMBF. We are committed in promoting sports, physical fitness, and camaraderie among members of the sports community,” Soledad said.

The doubles tournament will run until April 19 with games to be played every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday only. Matches every Friday and Saturday will run from 6pm to 10pm, while Sunday's games will start from 2pm until 8pm.

Tournament director Macoi Aguda said this is the first time that NMBF is holding an exclusive doubles tournament.

“Our tournaments in the past were team events with players teaming up with different partners. Now, players will have only one partner and they will have more focus and time to prepare for their matches, and this will make the competition pretty exciting,” Aguda said.