Top seed Chris Prulla and No. 2 Dave Mosqueda set out against a pair of lesser lights, upbeat of their chances in the boys’ 18-and-under play of the sixth Olivarez Cup Age Group Tennis Championship unfolding today (Friday, July 31) at the Olivarez Sports Center in Sucat, Parañaque.
Prulla collides with Allen Manlangit while Mosqueda tests July Mauring’s mettle in the lower half of the 64-player draw in the centerpiece division of the juniors category of the event presented by Palawan Pawnshop which also features the cream of the crop in the Open men’s and singles, and the men’s and ladies interclub team competitions and the inter-collegiate team event.
Third seed Abson Alejandre takes on Rafael Halili, No. 4 Emmanuel Fuellas battles Mark Cabahug, fifth-ranked Jeremiah Macias III clashes with Lance Sy and No. 6 Julian Dayrit mixes it up with Mikael Ilumin, all looking for a big start in the Group I tournament, backed by Dunlop AllClay Court as the official ball, which stakes precious ranking points.
Also on tap in the opening day of the week-long tournament are matches in the boys’ 16-U and 10-unisex, which, along with the 14- and 12-U sections, all lured full-packed rosters, underscoring the tremendous pull of the annual event to the country’s rising and leading juniors.
“This has been the scenario since we put up the inaugural Olivarez Cup in 2010. There are just too many young players taking up the sport and we thank Palawan Pawnshop for their commitment to boost tennis through its annual nationwide junior circuit,” said Philippine Tennis Association president and Parañaque Mayor Edwin Olivarez.
The title chase in the girls’ 18-U side gets going tomorrow (Saturday, Aug. 1) with top seed Monica Therese Cruz taking on Irish Barameda and No. 2 Shaira Rivera clashing with Nina Labrador. Third ranked Rafaella Villanueva will face the winner in the Katrina Hernandez-Julia Co while No. 4 Bettina Bautista tangles with the victor in the Alyka Sumapig-Jaeka Frias duel.
Focus will also be on the girls’ 14- and 16-U categories where the winners will represent the country in the WTA Future Stars Tournament featuring some of the top juniors in Asia-Pacific on Oct. 20-27 in Singapore.
“It has been our desire and commitment to help the sport and produce world class netters because we believe that Filipino players can be at par with the best,” said Palawan Pawnshop COO Bobby Castro.
Also up for grabs in the tournament ending Aug. 21 are cash prizes with event presenter Palawan Pawnshop putting up a total prize fund of P300,000. The other backers of the event are Dunlop Sports as official ball and Olivarez Sports Center.