MANILA, Philippines – Host Philippines got some luck with the new groupings of the 2020 Badminton Asia Manila Team Championships, which will be staged at the Rizal Memorial Coliseum from February 11 to 16.
The men's team of Joper Escueta, Ariel Magnaye, Alvin Morada, Solomon Padiz Jr, Paul John Pantig, Ros Pedrosa, Arthur Salvado, and Lanz Zafra will play Chinese-Taipei and Singapore in Group C after being originally bunched with top seed Indonesia and fifth-ranked India.
A redraw of the groups was done after China, Hong Kong, and India's women's team backed out from the tournament.
But Philippine men's team head coach Ronald Magnaye said his wards still have to stay on their toes despite the development.
"Even if the grouping is a little lighter compared to our original group, we still have a mountain to climb especially (as) Chinese-Taipei has one of the top players in the world in Chou Tien Chen," said Magnaye.
Group B will be composed of India, Malaysia, and Kazakhstan.
With the top two teams in each group automatically advancing to the knockout semifinals, Group A's Indonesia and Korea and Group D's Japan and Thailand will just play for seeding.
In women's action, the Philippine team of Nicole Albo, Sarah Barredo, Mika De Guzman, Geva De Vera, Ysay Leonardo, Chanelle Lunod, Bianca Carlos, and Thea Pomar remained in Group Y with region rivals Thailand and Indonesia.
Group W's Malaysia and Japan, Group X's Korea and Kazakhstan, and Group Z's Chinese-Taipei and Singapore will also just play for seeding for the next round in the tiff that will serve as a qualifier for the 2020 Thomas and Uber Cup in May.
On opening day, the Philippine women's squad takes on Thailand at 10 am in Court 1, while the Philippine men's team faces Chinese-Taipei at 4 pm in Court 1.
Badminton Asia and the Philippine Badminton Association (PBA) said they have taken measures to ensure the safety of the players participating in the tournament in light of the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) crisis.
"We can assure to the players and the Filipino people that their safety is put on a premium to ensure the world-class staging of this event," said PBA secretary-general Christopher Quimpo. – Rappler.com