I got interested with this article because it happens to be that the first National Men’s Single Champion is a Filipino, my fellowman. So I wanted to give a mark of respect to that person. You can see the names listed as the Roster of National Champions. You can see the name of the first person…….. “ ADRIANO G. TORRES JR.”. That’s the person I’m talking to.
I just want my reader to be aware of all the accomplishments and a brief background knowledge of the life of Adriano G. Torres Jr.
Here are some of his accomplishments:
1948 – Manila Bar Association of Badminton Clubs Singles Champion
1949 – National Singles Champion
1950 – National Singles Champion and a member of Philippine Team that participated in the Hong Kong Open
1951 – Finalist Hong Kong Badminton Championship
– Ramon Young of Hong Kong
1952 – Wong Peng Soon of Malaya All England World Champion
– Represented Philippines with Mariano Yanga in Hong Kong
– Played an exhibition games against the American team held at the La Salle College Open championship College Open Championship
1953 – National Singles Champion and member of the Philippine Team for Hong Kong Inter Club Tournament
1954 – National Singles & Doubles Champion and represented a private club to compete in Hong Kong Inter Club
1955 – National Singles & Doubles Champion with Ramon Bayot
– Played exhibition games against the American Team that participated in the Thomas Cup in Malaya Interclub championship held in Kowloon, Hong Kong
1956 – Participated in the 1st National Open and International Amateur Championship in Tokyo, Japan
– Doubles Champion with Ramon Bayot
1957 – National Singles & Doubles Champion
– Philippine Sportswriters Association Awardees for active and most outstanding participation in Badminton thus promoting the advancement of and contributing immeasurably to Philippine Sports
– A member of a private team that participated in Hong Kong and Taiwan Badminton Championship respectively
1958 – National Single Champion
1961 – Metropolitan singles & doubles champion with Eddie Malia
1972 – Philippine Badminton Association Achievement Awardees for being the best Filipino badminton player ever developed in the Philippines, famous for “fancy” strokes reigning as Singles champion from 1949 to 1958 and Doubles Champion with Ramon Bayot from 1954 to 1957
1973 – National Veterans Double Champion with Johnny Wong
1974 – National Veterans Doubles champion with Johnny Wong and finalist in Palarong Pambansa
1977 – Attended and successfully completed the Instructor Course for training Coaches held from May 7 to March 13 held at the Century Park Sheraton Hotel. Also attended the Three Day Sports medicine Seminar for Coaches conducted by the Sports Medicine Association of the Philippines and sponsored by the Philippine Olympic Committee with the cooperation of the National Sports Association on May 26, 27 and 28, 1977 at Silahis International Hotel, Manila
– Coach of the RP badminton team that compete in Pesta Sukan in the Genting Highland, Kuala Lumpur
LOOKING AT THE fifty’s Adriano Torres Jr. now won’t betray the fact that during his heydays, he was the undisputed badminton king-pin in the Philippines. Except for a handshake that lets you feel a firm grip, you wouldn’t have any idea that Mr. Torres was an athlete, and still is. He is limping when he walks, a result of rheumatoid arthritis that forced his retirement after what’s perhaps the most illustrious career hereabouts in his field.
Still, a look at the record books gives proof of what most everybody doesn’t know. He was the most dominant figure in badminton in the ‘50s, being the national singles champion for seven years in the period spanning 1949 to 1958. He was the mixed doubles champion with Consuelo G. Paredes in 1953, and reigned as doubles kingpin with Raymond Bayot from 1954 to 1957. His exploits took him to such foreign lands as Hong Kong, Taiwan and Japan.
The most eloquent recognition of Torres’ achievements as a player came in 1957, when the Philippine Sportswriters Association named him as the year’s awardees for badminton, but nothing perhaps can sum up his eminent record better than the achievement award he received in the ‘70s. Given in February 1972, the award cited Torres “for being the best Filipino badminton player ever developed in the Philippines, (becoming) famous for his ‘ fancy ‘ strokes and reigning as singles champion from 1949 to 1958 and doubles champion with Raymond Bayot from 1954 to 1957.”
Indeed, nobody before his retirement and since has come out and appeared capable of duplication Torres’ feats. Even Torres himself has a similar view. Without a trace of being egoistic, Torres says that the current crop of badminton stars does not have a single individual standout. “Everybody is about on the same level,” he says. Domingo Panganiban, his partner on the local badminton team, observes that Torres is in a class all his own. “ His winning is really different,” Panganiban says.
Torres has been with the System even before he became national champion. He joined the then-Metropolitan Water District as a casual employee in 1947. Because of his badminton prowess, the System held sway in tournaments it joined like the national open, metropolitan open and the GCAA, which was born about 1958.
Torres, in between smashing shuttlecocks, was also working and studying, once taking up architecture which he wasn’t able to finish due to his numerous pursuits. He worked himself in to a decent position in the System. He was assigned at the Property Division sometime in the ‘50s, then at the Administrative Division (the current Property) doing clerical jobs later. In the mid-‘60s, he was transferred to the Collection Department as a batcher, before being assigned as a serviceman at the Sampaloc Branch some 15 years ago, a position he holds to this day. His stint as a branch man has been his longest assignment, and he figures to perform his job of investigator up to his retirement from the service.
Any talk with Torres, however, in variably goes back to the sport closest to his heart. It was actually his father, the late pastor Adriano Torres Sr., who introduced him to the sport. In no time, however, he was beating his father at his own game. The younger Torres says that he would have no second thoughts teaching his own son the same sport. “If I only had a boy, I would have wanted very much to pass on to him my badminton know how,” he says. “If I can do it to others, I don’t see any reason why I can’t do it to my own son.”
Unfortunately, Torres was not lucky enough to have a son. He and his wife of almost 28 years, the former Erlinda Arguelles, were blessed with three children, all girls. The eldest, Erlinda is already a full-fledged CPA, and has a five-year-old son. The second, Ester, and is entering her third year proper in medicine. Rosario, the youngest, is a commerce graduate who majored in accounting.
True to his calling, Torres continues to play badminton as a doubles player for the System. At 57, he can still hold his own against players 30 years his junior. The System dethronement in the event last year, in a way, can be traced to faulty play in the doubles. “I did not play ion the last tournament because I gave in to younger players,” Torres reveals. “I will play again this year to regain our lost prestige.”
Torres is also preoccupied with imparting his knowledge to younger players. Since his retirement from competitive play on the national level, he has been coaching and teaching youngsters. A recognition of his value as tutor was his being named as head coach of the national team for 18 years and under to the Genting Highlands Pesta Sukan in 1977, and his appointment as coach of the second national pool last year.
He prides himself in having turned out his own flock of young stars. Among them are women’s champion Martha Millar, her brother Marty, a former national open semifinalist, onetime women’s national finalist Helen Uy, and national women’s players Irene Viola and Sandy Prieto.
It would appear that whether it’s on or off the court, Adriano Torres Jr. is one of those people who have made the best of themselves. Truly, that’s more than a handful of what you can say about some people. He died in Manila last January 11, 1997. He is special to me. Take a bow, Adriano Torres Jr.
DO YOU KNOW WHY HE IS SPECIAL TO ME ?