Philippine shuttlers to test mettle vs world's best in Asia badminton tiff
Luisa Morales (Philstar.com) - January 29, 2020 - 3:35pm

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine men's and women's badminton team are looking to rack up international experience as the country hosts the Badminton Asia Team Championships in February.

Going up against the top teams in the world, men's singles coach Ronald Magnaye sees this as an opportunity of a lifetime.

"We are playing with the best in the world," Magnaye said in a press conference on Wednesday.

"It's good exposure for us, for the team. As you can see, majority of them are world champions. [But] in terms of fighting, lalaban tayo... we will not give up easily," he said.

The Philippine men's team was grouped in Group A along with defending champions Indonesia and fifth seed India.

With the country ranking 11th out of 12 participating nations, Magnaye is setting humble goals for his team.

"Meron kasi akong prinsipyo... as long as they give their best, [then] winning is a blessing," he said.

Meanwhile, the women's squad gains an advantage being grouped with Southeast Asian neighbors Thailand and Indonesia in Group Y. They played with those two countries in the recently concluded 30th Southeast Asian Games.

Women's singles coach Ian Mendez hopes to exploit their knowledge of their opponents.

"Medyo may familiarity na kami sa each player and familiarized na kami sa court... we will take this an opportunity and an advantage," Mendez said.

The women's squad is also ranked 11th in their division. The Filipina shuttlers were able to avoid being grouped with powerhouses Japan and China who are in Group W and Z, respectively.

Smash Pilipinas, the Philippine National Sports Association for badminton, hopes to see significant support from the home fans once the tournament begins much like it did during the 30th SEA Games.

"I was surprised at the number of people who attended in the SEA Games venues... but the number of people who attended and cheered for our players was very encouraging," said Smash Pilipinas president Alfredo Benitez.

"It was also one of the reasons why we accepted to host this event... nakikita namin na more and more players and viewers are watching the game," he added.

The Badminton Asia Team Championships 2020 will be held from February 11-16 at the newly renovated Rizal Memorial Coliseum.

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