Combining lightning-quick foot speed with an excellent knowledge of the game, Homestead’s Terrence Pang was an unstoppable force on the badminton court this year.
The Mustangs senior faced familiar foe Son Nguyen of Independence for this season’s Central Coast Section badminton title.
Pang won 15-12, 15-5, prevailing over Nguyen for the second year in a row. As a result, Pang earned Mercury News Santa Clara County player of the year honors.
Last season, Nguyen beat Pang in their first meeting at CCS, before Pang put him away to win the double-elimination tournament.
"Nguyen is quick on his feet and a very good player," said Pang, who plans to play club badminton when he attends Cal this fall. "I don’t know if I really took something away from the matches we played last year, but I feel like I really worked hard to improve my game, and that helped when we met again."
Pang finished third in the CCS tournament as a freshman and was runner-up as a sophomore before breaking through for his first title last season.
"I believe that the strength of my game is my overall speed," said Pang, who was 20-0 this season. "I can usually wear down my opponent until I have a chance to make a kill."
And when he has the opportunity, Pang is known for his sizzling smashes.
"Terrence has an excellent ability to read the game," Homestead Coach Gumaro Diaz said. "He is real fast on his feet and has a mind for the sport. He comes up
with shots that no one expects and is probably the most powerful hitter in high school badminton right now. His smashes are easily over 140 mph."
Diaz also praised Pang for his low-key approach.
"I tell his teammates to look at him not just for the way he plays the game, but for his focus and determination. He is humble and has respect for the game and his opponents."