JOHN David Velez survived two tough rivals to escape with a double kill while Tiffany Claire Nocos dominated the girls’ side with two victories as they clinched MVP honors in the PPS-PEPP Dagitab Festival national age-group tournament at the City of Naga Tennis Courts in Cebu yesterday.
Velez dropped just one game in three matches in an imposing start but the top seeded bet needed to dish out his best in thwarting Eric Tangub 7-5, 7-6(5) in the boys’ 16-under final of the Group I tournament presented by Dunlop.
The country’s leading junior netter also had to toughen up against Vinz Lominoque 4-6, 6-1, 10-7 in the semis before holding off local ace Venz Alforque 6-4, 6-4 to secure the 18-U diadem.
The third ranked Nocos stamped her class in girls’ 14-under play, overpowering No. 2 Faith Banico 6-0, 6-1 before the rising star from Green Garden Christian School in Lapu Lapu City stopped Joshea Malazarte 6-7(3), 6-1, 11-9 to claim the 16-under trophy in the event put up by Palawan Pawnshop Palawan Express Pera Padala headed by president/CEO Bobby Castro.
Sharing the spotlight in the event which also served as run-up to the men’s singles Open, featuring three of the country’s gold medalists in the recent SEA Games, were Dipolog City’s Pete Bandala, Feb Villar from Consolacion, Cebu, Siquijor’s Banico, and local bets Vincent Canete and Mitch Largo.
Bandala foiled Christian Laguna 4-2, 4-3(4) for the 10-unisex crown; the unranked Villar upset top seeded Bliss Bayking 4-1, 4-2 in the first round and went on to clinch the girls’ 18-U plum with a 6-3, 7-6(2) win; Banico routed Shaira Paliwag 6-2, 6-1 for the girls’ 12-U crown; the unseeded Canete stunned No. 1 Prince Lim 6-2, 6-4 in the semis then trampled No. 4 Gio Manito 6-2, 6-4 for the boys’ 12-U title; and Largo stopped upset-conscious James Quino 6-4, 7-5 for the boys’ 14-U diadem.