The 2018 MVP National Juniors Championships kicked off last November 10 at the Powersmash Badminton Center in Makati City. Nearly 600 athletes from ages 9-17 competed in the four-day tourney, aimed at the developing of the youth program of the sport.
The finals conclude on Wednesday with Jewel Albo headlining the competition. The best under-17 player in the field has yet to drop a set in his first five matches and is poised to take home the championship.
Albo will be pitted against unheralded Lyrden Laborte in the finals. Laborte, who came in the competition as an unranked player, turned heads with his stunning upset over second-seeded Justine Valenzuela in straight sets, 21-17, 21-14. He then easily took care of his next matches and will face Albo to complete his Cindella run.
Aside from his championship bout, Albo will also compete in the mixed doubles finals alongside Anthea Gonzalez. The duo will face Zed Monterubio and second-ranked girls' singles player Viana Antonio.
Albo will close out the day with a third match as the partner of Guillian Rodriguez in the U17 boys' doubles versus Johnyl Mialda and Nestojan Tapales.
In the girls' under-17 division, the aforementioned Gonzalez will compete in the finals against Karyll Rio. Gonzalez is the top-seed in the girls division and cruised through the elimination round while Rio is an under-15 standout who will also be in the U15 finals versus Patricia de Leon.
Gonzalez will likewise compete in three events as she and her partner Dana Navarro will take on Christine Dorega and Clara Ignacio for the girls' double under-17 final.
A total of 20 champions will be crowned in this tournament backed by SMART Communications, MVP Sports Foundation, SMASH Pilipinas, Victor PCome Industrial Sales, Prima Pasta, Bali Pure, and Forthright Events & Sports Management Inc.