MALVINNE Alcala scored a pair of upset victories, including a three-setter over Malaysia’s top singles junior player, Lydia Li Ya Cheah, to advance to the main draw of the Hong Kong Super Series Badminton Championship at the Queen Elizabeth Stadium in Hong Kong.
Alcala, 16, recovered from a second set setback but needed to toughen up in an extended third set duel to essay a 21-15, 17-21, 22-20 win over Cheah last Monday.
Sustaining her form, Alcala subdued Hong Kong’s Ngan Yi Cheung 22-20, 21-18 in 32 minutes of play to qualify to the tournament proper of the second highest Badminton World Federation level event that offers a total purse of $250,000.
Alcala faces fancied fifth seed Pi Hongyan of France in the main draw.
She and Ronel Estanislao, however, bowed to Malaysia’s Thien How Hoon and Hui Ern Ng 21-15, 21-14 in mixed doubles play.
"I am happy with our players’ performance. They’re still young but they put up a good fight against the best in the world in this high-level tournament," said former First Lady and Philippine Badminton Association president Amelita "Ming" Ramos.
The team’s campaign is sanctioned by the PBA and headed by head coach Allan de Leon and assistant coach Malvin Alcala.
Philip Escueta and Peter Magnaye also advanced to the main draw of men’s doubles play by beating Hong Kong’s Tak Ching Chang and Chin Chung Or 21-19, 21-9 in 20 minutes.
They will take on Malaysia’s Mohd Zakry Abdul and Thien Latif Thien while the Asuncion Badminton Center’s pair of Antonino Benjamin Gadi and Kennevic Asuncion will go up against Korea’s Sung Hyun Ko and Yeon Seong Yoo.
Paul Jefferson Vivas and Ronel Estanislao failed to advance, losing to local bets Ka Long Ng and Chun Hei Tam 21-12, 19-21, 21-9.
In other matches, ABC’s mixed doubles pair and former national team members Kennevic and Kennie Asuncion won over HK’s Lok Kei Lo and Hung Yung Chan 21-11, 25-23 to advance to the tournament proper.