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Dramatic fightback propels Oba-ob to PBO semis

ANTIPOLO CITY, Philippines — Top seed Rabie Jayson Oba-ob advanced to the semifinals of the 2024 Philippine Badminton Open men’s singles with a come-from-behind 19-21, 21-14, 21-5 victory over Kervin Llanes of the University of the Philippines yesterday at the First Pacific Leadership Academy here.

The 31-year-old former national team standout used a late run to fuel his comeback victory against the determined 19-year-old UP upstart, securing the win in 31 minutes in their last-eight battle in this Philippine Super 500 tournament sponsored by Smart, Mizuno, the Philippine Sports Commission, and the MVP Sports Foundation.

“Yung gameplan ko kasi ngayon is tagalan ko ‘yung laro kasi alam kong mas matibay ‘yung endurance ko,” said Oba-ob, a Zamboagueño.

“Bihira rin sa bansa natin ‘yung mga badminton courts na matataas yung ceiling tulad dito kaya sinubukan kong taasan ‘yung bola para masira ‘yung timing niya lalo na karamihan sa mga players ngayon gumagamit ng power.”

Next up for Oba-ob is Llanes’ fellow UP and Smash Pilipinas member, Jelo Albo, who defeated Ateneo De Manila University’s Robert Ishmael Ramos, 21-15, 21-10, in 34 minutes.

Clarence Villaflor of Cadiz-JBA/Apacs, a 19-year-old West Negros College freshman, and Arthur Samuel Salvado Jr., the UAAP Season 86 co-MVP, will contest the other finals slot in this event, also sponsored by Jollibee, Chowking, and the FPLA.