UNRANKED but talented stars from Naga City, Cebu took four of the nine boys’ singles titles disputed as they dominated the PPS-PEPP Mayor Junard Chan national age-group tennis tournament at the Lapu Laput City and Consolacion courts in Cebu recently.
Vincent Canete bucked the odds to claim the boys’ 12under crown, capping his remarkable romp with a 6-4, 6-1 victory over No. 4 Gio Manito before Mitch Largo, Eric Longakit and Venz Alforque beat their respective rivals to share the spotlight in the Group I tournament presented by Dunlop.
Largo actually foiled fellow unseeded Canete’s two-title bid, hacking out a 6-4, 6-4 decision for the 14-under diadem; Longakit also frustrated No. 3 Largo 6-4, 4-6, 10-4 for the 16-unde rtitle; while Alforque overwhelmed top seed Cedrix Bravo 6-1, 6-2 to rule the premier 18-under side of the event that served as part of the country’s biggest talent search put up by Palawan Pawnshop-Palawan Express Pera Padala.
No. 2 David Sepulveda from Pardo, Cebu trounced third seed Christian Laguna 4-2, 4-2 to pocket the 10-unisex plum while second ranked Faith Banico from Siquijor outplayed No. 1 Shaira Paliwag 6-4, 6-2 to snare the girls’ 12-under crown and share MVP honors with Canete.
The Naga City bets’ victories likewise lined them up for a big campaign when the circuit moves to their turf on Dec. 14-21 for the PPS-PEPP Dagitab Festival, which features the men’s Open singles and doubles along with the Group I junior play. Also on tap are the Legends singles for 40-and-above, and doubles for 30s, 40s and 50s.
Local bet Claire Nocos drew inspiration from the hometorn crowd as she thwarted Banico 6-3, 6-0 while Butuan City’s Joshea Malazarte, also an unranked campaigner, held off Nichole dela Rita 6-0, 7-5, and Cabatuan, Isabela’s Paula Uy scored a 4-1(ret.) win over Malazarte to capture the girls’ 18-U trophy in the tournament sanctioned by Unified Tennis Philippines made up of PPS-PEPP, Cebuana Lhuillier, Wilson, Toby’s, Dunlop, Slazenger and B-Meg,
“The circuit continues to produce new faces and at the same inspire the youth to hone up knowing that every player has a chance, given the level playing field in each tournament,” said Palawan Pawnshop president-CEO Bobby Castro.
Sharing center stage were doubles winners Banico and Helariza Coderos (girls’ 14-U), siblings Prince and Roque Lim (boys’ 14-U), Uy and Malazarte (girls’ 18-U) Alforque and Bravo (boys’ 18-U) and Brice Baisa and Laguna (10-U).