NCR nails Palaro’s last gold as de Guzman beats Alvarez

VIGAN, Ilocos Sur — Mica de Guzman survived a three-set classic against Chuchi Alvarez to give the National Capital Region (NCR) the final gold medal of the 2018 Palarong Pambansa on Saturday.

The St. Paul Pasig shuttler recovered from blowing an early Set 3 lead to defeat the Pila native, 21-16, 11-21, 24-22, in the secondary girls’ badminton singles finals at the Vigan City Convention Center.

De Guzman actually rallied back from 10-15 down in Set 1 to take the match lead only to lose steam down the stretch in Set 2 as Alvarez forced the deciding set.

Banking on back-to-back aces early on, de Guzman raced to an 11-3 advantage in the final set. But Alvarez slowly came back and even drew close to stealing the win after taking a 20-19 lead.

De Guzman stayed poised come crunch time and eventually sealed the win on extra points, finishing the game with an ace at just the left corner.

De Guzman’s win made up for her team’s loss to the Alvarez-led Calabarzon quartet in the secondary girls team tie finals held at the same venue on Friday.

NCR racked up three golds in the secondary division, also ruling the boys singles and the mixed doubles.

Calabarzon also has three badminton golds in the high school level as the team also won in the boys team tie and the boys doubles.

The lone other gold in the secondary division ended up in the hands of Western Visayas, as Mia Maguilimotan and Ellana Tan won the girls doubles.

Western Visayas was actually the big winner in the elementary division, walking away with five golds.

The team won in both the two elementary team ties, both the two singles, and the girls’ doubles.

Mark Bernal and Christian Dorega of Central Luzon spoiled Western Visayas’ fun on Saturday when they defeated Brendan and Christopher Anglo in the boy doubles finals.

Bernal actually struck another gold for Central Luzon as he led the mixed doubles team to victory against the pair from the Davao region.